Spain and Portugal recruit bison and unusual horses to support lower hazard of blazes

An historic breed of horse and European bison are component of a groundbreaking project to battle the possibility of wildfires in Spain and Portugal. Here’s how.

Rare Garrano Horses and European Bison aid in wildfire prevention

In a groundbreaking experiment in the Iberian Peninsula, the Garrano horse alongside with European bison, each historical breeds, have joined forces to combat the threat of wildfires.


These endangered animals are enjoying a vital position in clearing scrubland and vegetation that serve as gasoline for devastating blazes.

How are prehistoric horses aiding to fight wildfires?

The Garrano horses, with a population of roughly 300, roam semi-wild in the Serra da Cabreira mountain vary in Portugal. This breed, which traces its origins back again to prehistoric periods, confronted a considerable drop in figures because the mid-20th century.

According to Joao Paulo Ribeiro, president of the Association of Garrano Breeders, their inhabitants dwindled from about 70,000 to only 350 mares in the 1990s.

Nonetheless, thanks to dedicated conservation attempts, their numbers have now risen to about 1,500.

Mayor Antonio Cardoso of Vieira do Minho aptly refers to the horses as “sapper horses,” in reference to the navy expression and highlighting their critical job in clearing the grounds.

This modern technique aims to avert wildfires by utilising the horses’ natural grazing behaviour to eat around 30 kilograms of vegetation everyday.

By focusing on the spots beneath telegraph poles, the horses add to creating firebreaks, lessening the possibility of fires spreading.

A collaborative exertion in between human beings and European Bison in Spain

Very similar initiatives in firefighting have been executed in other regions.

In Spain, the director of the European Bison Reserve, Jesús González Ruiz, emphasizes the essential position of European bison in sustaining forest health and fitness. 

Bison, identified for their indiscriminate consuming habits, take in more than 130 diverse plant species, efficiently clearing and rejuvenating the landscape. Their existence helps prevent the undergrowth from starting to be a potential fireplace hazard.


This collaborative work between human beings and animals signifies a significant shift toward sustainable fireplace avoidance tactics. 

By harnessing the innate behaviours and skills of these endangered breeds, communities in the Iberian Peninsula are functioning in the direction of preserving their wealthy natural heritage although safeguarding towards the devastating impacts of wildfires.

They hope this variety of ‘eco-grazing’ will spread to other places also. 

Look at the video clip higher than to learn much more about this pioneering venture.

Video clip editor • Joanna Adhem