There is hardly room for resting deer and red deer: as a new bridge must be built over the highway, the game reserve at Herborn will shrink. The association sensed an excuse – and petitioned.
A protected game without wild animals? Sounds weird – but that’s how you could soon look at Herborn (Lahn-Dill). At the edge of the city forest, mouffons, fallow deer, and donkeys as well as donkeys, goats and llamas have found the perfect home – despite the A45, which runs right next to it.
But this may be the reason behind the decline of the animals. Due to the upcoming new construction of the Kallenbach Viaduct, over which the highway runs at the level of the game reserve, the city plans to radically reduce the fenced areas. By the time construction begins on the new bridge in three years, most of the animals should have moved on.
Only 15 percent of the current area will remain
But where? This is a question that a working group of politicians, an advocacy group, and outside experts has been dealing with for nearly two years now. Thus, moving to the entire game park is excluded as the city does not contain any other free zone that would be large enough for nine hectares of game reserve. The areas adjacent to the existing annexes are privately owned or have been marked as a nature reserve and are therefore also unsuitable. Cooperation with the zoo in Herborn or the hunting reserve in Dillenburg was also excluded, mainly due to the lack of space.
What is now left is a smaller size: the current project envisions that only 15 percent of the current acreage can be left for animal husbandry. This will be about 1.5 hectares, which is roughly equivalent to two football fields. A few donkeys, llamas or goats could then remain from the current stock – but the proposed space would not be enough for wild animal species.
Enclosure Wildlife Society criticizes the city
The Wildlife Enclosure Association doesn’t want to let that sit—and they have one petition I started. “We want the city to get out of its comfort zone and work with independent experts to examine what is really possible here,” says board member Christian Stoll. The plan to keep only three animal species on the remaining 1.5 hectares is meaningless. The association accuses the city of using the new bridge as an excuse to downsize, with “closure being the last logical consequence”.
Katja Gronau, Mayor of Herborn, was in stark contrast when I asked her a watch: “If I wanted to close the game reserve, I could have done it very easily in 2020,” she says. On the contrary: The judge is trying very hard to save the fence — “maybe not as it is now,” she admits.
No permission for attachments
The non-partisan politician points to a potentially crucial detail: The game reserve has been around for 60 years – but without permission at all. From a purely legal point of view, the animals shouldn’t really be kept, especially in a forested area, Gronau says. Because the forest is called a recreational forest in which animal husbandry is strictly regulated according to the Hessian Forest Act. If the animals have to leave their enclosures anyway due to construction work, at least the area of the forest to be protected should be immediately reforested in accordance with applicable law, as the mayor plans.
The association can understand that nature and forest protection must also be taken into account. He is also committed to preserving trees. “The forest in the donkey barn, for example, is broken — but the fact that the fir trees are no longer standing is because of the bark beetle and not the donkey,” says Christian Stoll. The maple plant grows there naturally – “We are also happy to plant more trees and keep them away from the animals if necessary.” Stoll went on to say that there is an earmarked donation that should be used exclusively to purchase trees. But that doesn’t change the fact that animals need more space.
“I’m not interested in destroying the fence or closing down a local recreation area – but that is only possible with cooperation,” says Mayor Gronau. The association now has until mid-August to comment on the city’s plans. The first deadline has already passed, and the decision should be made in September.
The end of more information