Plight of Suffolk Punch remains critical as concerns rise over impact of coronavirus on breeding
- Credit: Archant
New data shows that Suffolk’s iconic animal, the Suffolk Punch, remains critically endangered.
The figures come from The Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST), the trust works across the country to monitor the population of rare livestock and horses.
Breed societies help them estimate the number of breeding females of each species.
Each year they release a ‘Watchlist’ of species that are at risk of dying out.
The Suffolk Punch remains on the critical section of the watchlist meaning that there are less than 300 breeding mares in the country.
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Each year, around 50 births are needed to improve the fortunes of the breed; last year there were 33 births.
There was one small glimmer of hope in the list; the data showed that the number of breeding Suffolk Punch females had increased by over 5% in the past year.
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A spokesman for the Suffolk Horse Society said that the data, which was based on last year’s figures looked positive but that a new hurdle was now facing them.
“The concern is getting our mares covered,” said the spokesman.
“Moving stallions and mares around is an issue owners are now facing.”
If the horses cannot be moved around then it will be difficult to ensure new foals next year.
The society are getting daily calls about the issue and are working hard to help owners.
“We want to save this breed,” said the spokesman.
“It’s positive news that foal numbers were up last year.
“We want to keep that positive.”
So far in 2020 five Suffolk Punch foals have been born, with many of these in Suffolk.
The first was Coppermantle Big Stig in the middle of March.