From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2005:
Wild horses & cattle at risk in the Danube Delta
by Andreea Plescan with further research by ANIMAL PEOPLE
Untamed and undiscovered by tourism and
development, the Danube Delta is home to more
than 300 bird species, 160 fish species, and
more than 800 plant families.
Protected as a wetlands biosphere
reserve, the Romanian portion of the Danube
Delta occupies 2,622 square miles of channels and
canals, widening into tree-fringed lakes, reed
islands, marshes, some oak forest intertwined
with lianas and creepers, desert dunes, and
some traditional fishing villages.
The Danube Delta is also home to the
largest population of wild horses and cattle in
Europe. Their combined population is officially
estimated at about 7,500. Some escaped from
farms to join wild herds during the 2005 floods.
Some escaped earlier, or their ancestors did.
Many were released to graze on the biosphere
reserve by farmers who hoped to recapture them
later, but abandoned them when horse flesh and
beef prices dropped.