Driven by forest fires, wild horses return to Antalya, Turkey

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A month after the forest fires that ravaged the province of Antalya in southern Turkey, wild horses that fled their habitat have returned to the Eynif Plain. Herds of horses running free in Ibradı district, one of the places affected by the forest fires that continued from July to August, dazzle visitors to the plain.

A fire that started in Manavgat had spread to the plain where firefighters managed to stop it on August 8, but it had already chased the horses to other areas in the region. Some 1,000 wild horses inhabit the 90,000-acre plain.

View of wild horses in Ibradı district, Antalya, southern Turkey on September 22, 2021. (Photo IHA)

Tolga Özgüven, who runs a tourism business near the plain, said the plain was untouched by the blaze, but the horses took refuge in forests untouched by the fires. “We placed hay bales in unaffected areas to attract them and protect them from fires. Today they have started to return to their natural habitat, ”he told the Ihlas News Agency (IHA) on Wednesday.

A few weeks after the forest fires, the burnt areas see a return of nature, in the form of flowers blooming again among the ash trees, accompanied by the growth of shrubs. Animals, from birds to bees, are also returning to their fire-ravaged habitat. In the coming months, Turkey plans to start reforestation work in the burnt areas, although most will remain in their current state for their natural recovery with minimal intervention.

Turkey has seen hundreds of forest fires break out in its southern and southwestern provinces from July 28. Through intensive and dedicated efforts, all of the fires were brought under control in just over two weeks. At least eight deaths have been reported in the fires according to official figures.


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