Leipzig. Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, is delighted to announce an increase in its aurochs herd at the Leipzig plant. The total number has now risen to 50 bulls, cows, and calves. The first animals were introduced to the former Leipzig "parade ground" in spring 2002, where they now roam around 70 hectares of land resembling their natural habitat. In the last three years, the animals have settled well and reproduced. Consequently, the initial stock has since more than doubled, thus ensuring optimum pasturing on the site. In addition to the aurochses, a herd of 20 Exmoor ponies now lives in the area, thus preventing the pastureland from becoming overgrown in the interplay with the aurochses.
One of Porsche's main objectives is to preserve the ecological value of the site in the long term with its existing fauna and flora. "Driving on the all-terrain course is controlled in such a way that the animals do not feel restricted in their habitat," explains Rolf Toczek, head of company environmental protection at Porsche AG. Therefore, in addition to the aurochses and ponies, the area is also home to large numbers of hares, foxes, and deer, whilst bats also benefit from the high insect density in the biotope.
The aurochses and ponies form semi-wild herbivore herds that develop a social structure and can be maintained largely without human assistance because of their hardiness and modest requirements. The introduction of the animals was a central element of an extensive landscape preservation concept for the former "parade ground," which external biologists developed on behalf of Porsche AG and in close cooperation with the conservation authorities of the city of Leipzig and the state of Saxony. The pasturing concept was designed as a compensation measure for a semi-natural six-kilometer all-terrain course on which instructors introduce Porsche customers to the off-road capabilities of their Cayenne sports all-terrain vehicle, produced in Leipzig.
The Leipzig Porsche biotope is also a successful example of the sensible and semi-natural reuse of disused military training areas. "Keeping open such landscapes with a tapestry of wooded and open areas is most effectively organized with large herbivores such as aurochses, ponies, or red deer. Wolf Lederer, whose office developed the pasturing concept, stresses the value of the biotope: "A central European savannah landscape is formed that gives extinct or endangered animals a chance to survive in our cultivated environment." According to Lederer, "such unique flora and fauna on the edge of a major city and within an industrial area may well be unique in Germany."