The animals ensure that the areas are not overgrown with bushes and trees. | © DB AG/ Faruk Hosseini

Our Heck cattle and bisons are a wonder to behold

At DB, Heck cattle and bison fulfil the official role of landscape gardeners. This rare and robust breed of cattle consumes some 50 kilograms of grass a day. We have given them not only the permission but the official mission to do this. Because both of them provide new habitats for rare plants and animals to compensate for unavoidable disturbance to the environment at other locations. 

Together with some Przewalski's horses, about a dozen Heck cattle help DB ensure optimal grazing of green spaces at a natural heritage site in Aschaffenburg. By preventing the growth of trees and shrubs, they help to preserve important habitats for other types of plants and animals. 

And so the Heck cattle do something not only for the environment, but also for the visitors to the nature trail on this former army training area. They are a special attraction. Descended from the aurochs, which has been extinct since the 17th century, today only a few of these longhorn cattle remain worldwide. 

About a dozen Heck cattle keep the meadows at the Aschaffenburg natural heritage site in ideal condition.
In the national nature heritage Aschaffenburg a dozen of heck cattles care for the optimal grazing. 

European bison become woodland caretakers

A herd of wisent has moved into the specially protected forest area on a former munitions factory site near Münster in Hesse. European bison are the last surviving species of wild cattle and are themselves endangered. Wisents graze on wooded land, which makes them expert at ensuring that the open spaces on the 250-hectare, predominantly forested area do not become overgrown with bushes. Weighing up to 1000 kg, European bison enrich their diet of wild herbs, grass and moss with such delicacies as twigs, leaves and lichen.

The area on the former MUNA munitions factory site is a Deutsche Bahn environmental restoration activity to compensate for rail upgrade projects in the Rhine-Main metropolitan area.

Heck cattle and wisent, or European bison, are perfect for landscape maintenance.
Heck cattle and wisent, or European bison, are perfect for landscape maintenance.
The site is now mostly wooded, but the animals ensure that bushes do not overwhelm the remaining open spaces.
The site is now mostly wooded, but the animals ensure that bushes do not overwhelm the remaining open spaces.
A herd of wisent has moved into the site of a former munitions factory near Münster.
A herd of wisent has moved into the site of a former munitions factory near Münster.
The first six of a total of nine bison have been on duty on the Muna site since the end of April.
The first six of a total of nine bison have been on duty on the Muna site since the end of April.
The European bison move to their new home on the 260 hectare specially protected forest area.
The European bison move to their new home on the 260 hectare specially protected forest area.
Heck cattle as landscape carer  at the Aschaffenburg natural heritage trail.
Heck cattle as landscape carer at the Aschaffenburg natural heritage trail.
In addition to herbs and grasses, twigs and lichens are also on the menu of wild cattle.
In addition to herbs and grasses, twigs and lichens are also on the menu of wild cattle.
The animals ensure that the areas are not overgrown with bushes and trees.
The animals ensure that the areas are not overgrown with bushes and trees.
An adult bison eats around 50 kilograms of grass a day.
An adult bison eats around 50 kilograms of grass a day.