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Is the Portuguese Garrano horse endangered?

Is the Portuguese Garrano horse endangered? - portugal news
Is the Portuguese Garrano horse endangered? - Portugal Business News

Portugal ecotourism news - Is the Portuguese ancient Garrano horse endangered?


The Portuguese Garrano horse, that originates from northern Portugal, is only 1m 23 high and has a brown coat with a black tail. The ancient breed is a native of the Minho and Trás-os-Montes regions that are located on Portugal’s norther border.


Garrano means small working horse and Portugal’s ancient Garrana horse breed is essential for fire-prevention since it consumes combustible material over large areas. The Portuguese pony, that lives in the wild in the mountains of northern Portugal, is an endangered species.


The Portuguese Garrana horse breed is so ancient that it appears in open-air Paleolithic archeological sites in northern Portugal. However, there are only 3,000 Garrano horses left in Portugal compared to about 40,000 in 1938. Moreover, 50% of foals are preyed upon by wolves.


The Archaeological Park of the Côa Valley in north-eastern Portugal includes a Prehistoric Rock-Art Site that has thousands of engraved rock drawings of horses and other animals, as well as human and abstract figures, dated from 22,000 to 10,000 years B.C. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and visitors can visit the Côa Parque Museum that was inaugurated in 2010 and that sits gracefully at the top of the mouth of the Côa River. The Côa River opens the way to two World Heritage sites in northern Portugal, namely the Prehistoric Art site of the Côa Valley and the Douro Wine region. The Côa Parque Museum is a portal to the rock art sites in the Côa Valley Archaeological Park and includes the largest library in Portugal dedicated to rock art.


While the ancient Portuguese Garrano horses may still be admired in the wild in northern Portugal, they may become extinct unless they have a reason to be protected. “A horse needs a function,” says José Leite, technical adviser of the Association of Garrano Horse Breeders ACERG in a new report by The Guardian, adding that “without it, they’re doomed to disappear.”


The Portuguese Garrana horse breed has a valuable genetic heritage and is essential for the ecosystem and biodiversity of northern Portugal. The ancient horse breed is also an important cultural heritage and is a special saddle and light draft horse that is ideal for riding lessons and mountain equestrian tourism. There is still hope to save Portugal’s endangered horse breed and ecotourism may be a way to give a future to the ancient Portuguese Garrano horse.


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