Known in Europe as a rare breed, Niepolomice Forest aurochses cost tens of thousands of zloty, reported commercial Radio ZET last week. Despite the high price, eager Germans, Dutchmen, Slovaks and Hungarians are buying them to establish aurochs farms.An adult aurochs can weigh a ton and measure 180 centimeters at the withers, the highest point on the animal?s back at the ridge between its shoulder blades. It runs at a rate of 40 km\h and can jump over obstacles such as fences or wide ditches. Niepolomice region?s forest, 25 kilometers from Krakow?s center district, covers almost 12,000 hectares. An aurochses reserve, established in Hysne Forest before World War II, currently covers about 70 hectares. The reserve is only big enough for 25 aurochses. Including calves, there are now 29 aurochses in Niepolomice, meaning some must leave the Forest, reports Gazeta Krakowska daily. ?To start the journey young aurochses must be at least one year old. The best time is when they are 3 years old,? explained Stanislaw Sennik, Niepolomice chief of the Conservative Center of Aurochs Raising. ?Our Center should not be considered as a way of earning money. We sell our animals to similar institutions in the world, according to principles defined by geneticists from Warsaw Agricultural University working under the direction of Professor Wanda Olech-Piasecka.??There are around 200 raising centers in the world, but I wish there were three times more than there are now,? stated Professor Olech-Piasecka. ?The European aurochs has competition: the American buffalo. Aurochs and buffalo were separated as a species several thousand years ago, but their similarity poses a serious threat of genetic mixing. European buffalo are raised on an industrial scale, whereas aurochses are being kept from extinction.?
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