With the future of the Dinefwr White Park cattle herd under threat, the National Trust have launched a campaign to raise £36,000 to buy a new bull to keep the rare bloodline alive.
Only 750 White Park breeding females remain on the planet, making the breed a rarer species than the Giant Panda. Characterised by their pure white coats and black features, the White Park cow has become an iconic site at Dinefwr, their presence dating back to the year 920.
Local dairy farmer Wyn Davies has spent the last 18 years taking care of the current 13-strong herd.
Mr Davies said: “After four years of service, the current bull, Strelley Bendigo, has maximized his potential with the herd. A new male needs to enter the herd to preserve the bloodline and make sure the bulls bred on the land are true to species.”
The fundraising campaign is not the only way the National Trust Wales is attempting to protect rare cattle breeds, as they also ensure that the staff who care for the herds are fully skilled. Rhodri Thomas is to be the next generation of White Park herdsman, currently training to take over from the experienced Mr Davies who is due to retire in the next few years.
Mr Davies continued: “I have had the pleasure of working with the White Park Cattle for the past 18 years and they are amazing animals. Dinefwr wouldn’t be Dinefwr without them. I hope with the support of the public we can achieve our fundraising goal and together with a new young herdsman in the form of Rhodri the cattle will be safeguarded for future generations.”
Justin Albert, director of National Trust Wales added: “The White Park Cattle are vital to Dinefwr and are a significant part of Welsh history that we want to protect. We’ll do all we can to ensure the breed continues to thrive and delight our visitors for generations to come.”
The first fundraising event will take place on September 24, 2016 when it hosts its annual White Park Cattle Run.