The REN project that promotes the defense of the infrastructures of the National Transport Network (RNT) and the forest against rural fires in Serra da Cabreira through the help of Garrana horses (263 mares and 28 stallions) was once again highlighted in the international press, this time in the British The Guardian. The report highlights REN's contribution to protecting this indigenous breed, “one of the most emblematic and threatened species in the region”.

The Guardian reported the “search for a new job” for the garranos, who help prevent forest fires through an initiative that brought together REN, the municipality of Vieira do Minho, ACERG (Association of Horse Breeders of the Garrana Breed ) and APOSC (Association for the Planning of Serra da Cabreira). The decline of the Garrans “after 16,000 years of domestication” began in the middle of the last century, “as farms were mechanized and tractors and cars replaced horses”, noted the British newspaper. With the implementation of the protocol, local communities have another incentive to value this species, of which there are less than two thousand specimens, according to data from ACERG.

As part of the initiative, REN was responsible for creating a system of improved pastures, drinking fountains and placing GPS on dominant stallions and mares. The objective is that the animals do not move to more dangerous areas in search of food, while they clean the vegetation (around seven thousand kilos daily), substantially reducing the risk of rural fires.

The initiative has the support of APOSC which, through its teams of forestry sappers, complements the work that is not carried out by garrons in the corridors of REN's Energy Transmission Lines. It is a crucial effort in Portugal, a country “which knows all too well the damage that forest fires can do”, wrote The Guardian.

The REN project aimed at defending the forest and protecting the garranos had already received attention in the international press in July, with a report by France Press. The French agency reported the use of “sapper horses” to prevent fires. And in September, a report from the French daily Le Figaro also told the story of the project, adding that since 2010, REN had already helped landowners in the region to plant indigenous trees, as a way of preventing fires.

In October, the project was awarded by the Portuguese Association of Business Ethics, which recognized its innovative nature, distinguishing it in the Social Responsibility Axis, in the “Environment: Impact Reduction” category.

Source: REN