Chillingham Wild Cattle

Flodden 2013 166
They have been isolated in a walled terrain for 800 years, the last of Europe’s wild forest cattle.

Flodden 2013 171

One hundred and twenty live here today. The 1947 winter killed all except for twentysix. They have been through the eye of a genetic needle many times, but they survive. They are now genetically identical.
Flodden 2013 169
An old chief at peace in a quiet part of Northumberland.

About Harry Nicholson

I once bred Beveren rabbits in all colours. Today, I'm an enameller who works with a kiln, fusing pictures in glass onto copper. On Amazon is my novel, 'Tom Fleck', set in the North of England of 1513 - the year of Flodden. A sequel to 'Tom Fleck' is 'The Black Caravel' published in 2016. My anthology of poems came out in 2015: 'Wandering About.' Recently I published memoirs of my time in the Merchant Navy: 'The Best of Days' and 'You'll See Wonders" I've a blog of poems, stories and art at:
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5 Responses to Chillingham Wild Cattle

  1. Chrisj says:

    I remember the winter of 1947. It was quite memorable for all its snow. I had no idea there even were wild cattle. Glad they are surviving.

  2. Fascinating! Thanks for the write-up, I have learned something new today. I hope they survive. Being genetically identical makes them all susceptible to the same diseases. Cheers!

    • Hello, Conrad. The warden said that they appear to have high resistance to normal bovine disease as they are the survivors of centuries of infection. Even so, as a precaution a small herd has been established in Scotland as insurance. The herd is now close to the carrying capacity of its Chillingham range. All are kept totally wild and not managed in any way. The bulls dispose of any weaklings.
      Genetic tests show that they are distinct from domestic cattle and are not their precursors. Domestic cattle seem to originate in the Middle East.
      A rich Russian offered to buy the lot, but he was turned down.

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