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Return of lots to the Czech Republic? Reindeer once lived here, Julius Caesar may have seen them

At the beginning of the week, zoologists and animal lovers were delighted by the news that a European moose had appeared in the Giant Mountains. If the ungulate settles here, it will be another animal species that, despite the previous extermination, will return to another place in the Czech landscape. Although people associate moose mainly with the northern parts of the European and American continents and have become accustomed to their presence in domestic forests, in Central Europe they are old acquaintances. A few centuries back, they used to live in a large part of the old continent.

The European moose lives in several zoos. Zoopark Chomutov also successfully breeds them, two females currently live here – Quanita and Johanka. The breeding male Joni keeps them company

| Video: Diary/Kamila Minaříková

And not only them, according to historical documents and archaeological findings, reindeer probably also ran in the Czech Republic. Even the famous Roman general Julius Caesar was supposed to meet both species in Central Europe during his campaigns.

Hunters exterminated moose in the Czech Republic several centuries ago. It is stated that it could have been as early as the twelfth century, but the exact date is not known. More than a hundred years ago, the magazine Lovecký obzor described that as early as 1746 this ungulate lived in Saxony, which is adjacent to today’s border with the Czech Republic. “But everywhere they tried to exterminate it, because it causes a lot of damage in the forests by peeling,” the periodical summarized.

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The decrease in numbers was also helped by the loss of vegetation and the fragmentation of the landscape, which forced the moose to retreat further north. At the same time, moose lived here before the beginning of our era.

A famous Roman general also mentions the largest ungulate Gaius Julius Caesar in an equally famous writing Notes on the Gallic War (about 49 BC). “The shape and color of the fur make the moose quite similar to a goat, but it is slightly larger, its antlers are truncated, and its legs are jointless and articulated. It doesn’t lie down to rest, nor can it get up and stand on its feet if it falls and is knocked down by some accident,” he wrote about the hitherto unknown animal.

Source: Diary/Kamila Minaříková

According to Caesar, the hunters should use the inability to stand on their feet to catch the animal. If they wanted to hunt a moose, they cut down all the trees in the area where it moved. “But only to make it look quite as if they were standing. Then, when the moose lean against them as usual, they will defeat the unstable trees with their weight and fall with them themselves,” he described. Moose lived not only in Germany, but ancient records even place them in Greece or Scotland.

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According to some researchers, Caesar also describes reindeer in the writings, in Chapter 26. Whether he actually saw them or not is not clear to the scientific community. But experts certainly have evidence that they also lived on Czech territory. Thanks to archaeological finds.

Karst researcher Martin Kříž writes in the publication Průvodce do Moravské jeskyní about finds from caves in the Křtinské údolí between Adamov and Brno. “I identified the third tooth from the lower right jaw of the reindeer. So, two reindeer were represented,” he summarized the research in file from 1902.

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The author of an article in the magazine Lovecký obzor, published in 1906, was also convinced of the existence of reindeer on Czech territory. Even villages were to be named after reindeer and moose. “The vast forests kept a lot of game of various kinds. In the Czech Republic, for example, we have eight settlement names reminiscent of moose and seven of reindeer,” the magazine published.

In the case of reindeer, the name of the settlement is difficult to find, but it is much easier for elk. They have him in theirs name to this day – Velké Losiny, Losín, Losenice and the like.

He thrives in Šumava

At the beginning of this week, the Krkonoše moose apparently traveled to the Czech side from their neighbors in Poland. A stable population of about fifteen individuals lives in the Šumava region in the Czech Republic. It is among the strong endangered species. It is not yet certain whether the ungulate will remain in the north.

“It is too early to speculate on whether moose will settle permanently in the Krkonoše mountains, or whether they will only migrate. Anyway, this is good news about the state of our nature. Considering that the moose moves in the traditional biocorridor, this is proof of the meaningfulness and effectiveness of these measures and their protection,” said director of the Krkonoše National Park Administration, Robin Böhnisch.

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