Active conservation work
A special feature of grazing in Kienberg Park is that the animals all belong to breeds that are threatened with extinction. Just as wild animals and wild plants are threatened with extinction and are on red lists, there are also many breeds of farm animals that are threatened with extinction.
In the past, agriculture used to work with a large variety of different livestock breeds, because each region had different requirements for its animals and thus many, completely different, site-adapted breeds developed. Due to restructuring in agriculture after World War II, the focus shifted to intensive performance breeding and the performance requirements for livestock changed significantly (e.g. increasing milk yield in cattle or increasing wool quality in sheep).
Today, agriculture therefore only works with very few high-performance breeds, such as the Holstein Friesian in milk production.
However, the breeds that are kept and bred very little in this consequence have genetic characteristics, such as their longevity, frugality, hardiness or good maternal traits, which are very valuable and worth preserving. Due to "non-use", many of these old breeds are facing extinction or are already extinct.
In 1981, the Gesellschaft zur Erhaltung alter und gefährdeter Haustierrassen e.V. (GEH) was founded and began to network breeders throughout Germany and to support the breeding work of endangered breeds. As a result, no red-listed livestock breed has become extinct since the GEH was founded.
One of GEH's initiatives to preserve and present the problem of extinct livestock breeds to the general public was the initialisation of the certified Ark projects. Here, conservation work and breeding of endangered species are carried out and presented in the form of 99 Ark Farms, 20 Ark Parks, 1 Ark Village and 2 Ark Regions throughout Germany (as of February 2019).
In an Ark Park, such as is the case at the Ark Park on the Kienberg since spring 2017, a variety of livestock breeds that are exclusively endangered and on the GEH Red List are kept and bred.