Concerns raised over future of Dartmoor ponies
The decline in the number of Dartmoor hill ponies could eventually lead to them becoming extinct, a claim that might concern pony insurance customers.
Farmers have suggested that the dwindling numbers of the animals is partly due to the fact that younger generations are not as keen to work with them, reports BBC News.
Robert Steemson, of the Dartmoor National Park Authority, told the news provider: “The ponies are very important as a conservation management tool.”
He added that they are crucial to maintaining the biodiversity and shape of the moor by feeding on certain plants.
At the start of the century, there were about 30,000 of the equines, but recent figures indicate that this has fallen to 1,500.
According to the Dartmoor Hill Pony Association, the breed might lose its ability to survive on the moor if the number of animals carries on dropping.
Earlier this month, a small herd of Exmoor ponies were introduced to a fell side in County Durham in the hope that they will control the growth of bracken and grasses and enable the growth of more wildflowers, BBC News reported.