The pilot project ‘Opływ na wypasie’ (in English: “The grazed runoff” – editor’s note) has begun. The city of Gdańsk has announced that a herd of 15 sheep has been released for the first time in a park next to the Motława River. The animals will take care of biodiversity, soil welfare and selective grass cutting. The safety of the animals is supervised by their keeper, the shepherd Tymoteusz Hagno.
Wrzosówka is one of the oldest indigenous breeds of sheep in Poland. The traditional grazing of these animals in parks and meadows is a noticeable trend in urban areas. This year, sheep appeared for the first time in the vicinity of Gdańsk. Their presence and appetite will have a beneficial effect on the condition of the green areas in the Motława River. Grazing will slow down the regrowth of tall plants. According to research, where sheep are present, weeds disappear and valuable plant species appear.
“Sheep grazing is an ecological way to maintain green areas,’ says Michal Szymanski, deputy director of the Gdańsk Road and Greenery Authority for public spaces.
“Sheep as natural lawn mowers are becoming increasingly popular in Poland and abroad. They “worked”, among others, in Belgium’s Zaventem airport or Madrid’s largest park. Now they have also arrived in Gdańsk,” he adds.
“The sheep are safe. We have taken care of that. They graze in the fenced area. As the work of the lovely ‘lawn mowers’ progresses, the fence will be moved. From unfavourable weather, the animals can take shelter under a shelter prepared for them. We have also installed a feed trough, drinkers and salt licks. Throughout the grazing period, the heathered sheep are under veterinary care. The animals and the sheep infrastructure are constantly monitored by a delegated employee, and monitoring has been installed in the pasture,” adds Michał Szymański.
The presence of the herd of sheep in a city park is quite an attraction. The residents and councillors of the Olszynka district do not hide their positive emotions. Not only did they jointly come up with a catchy name for the pilot project – ‘Opływ na wypasie’ – but also pledged their support and, in their own words, socially looked after the sheep.
This is the first urban sheep grazing project in Gdansk. If it yields the expected results, expanding its scope is not excluded. The area around the Motława River has historically been used as pasture land.
Sheep grazing as part of the pilot project will last until the end of October. A live report from the sheep grazing site can be viewed by clicking this text.