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Threats

 

The greatest current threats to the well-being of the Skyrian horses are overgrazing,lack of support for the owners,in some cases bad horse management practices and lack of interest from some owners in controlled dreeding.

 

At Mt. Kohylas there live, in addition to the horses, about 20,000 sheep and goats, leading to overgrazing and downgrading of the natural habitat. The EU sheep/goat subsidies have led to an increase in their numbers and a further deterioration in the quality of the available land.

 

Some people in Skyros allow their donkeys and mules to roam free. In recent years this practice has led to uncontrolled breeding and many births of mules instead of skyrian horses. An organised plan must be pursued to evacuate the donkeys and mules from this area, in a controlled way that will ensure the safety of all three species.

 

The overall lack of incentives for horse owners deters them from increasing the population, and in some cases even leads them to reduce the number of horses they keep. In 2006 there were fewer than 100 horses on the island.

 

Another serious threat is the plan to install wind turbines in the Mt. Kohylas area, in the context of a project contemplated by the Mt. Athos Monastery of Megisti Lavra and the company ENTEKA. If it is implemented, the Skyrian horses' natural habitat will be destroyed forever. The species' perpetuation, but also the entire diverse ecosystem of the Mt. Kohylas area, will be utterly compromised.