Four Highland cows have mooved into UEA’s campus to help improve the biodiversity of the land.
Named Delia, Chocolate, Cornflower and Cecily, they will reside in a field on the western edge of university land, and help manage the flora and fauna of the fenland, flood plain and meadows.
UEA is believed to be the first university in the UK to use cattle for conservation purposes, and the idea for their use came from grounds manager Oliver Deeming.
He said: “The cattle will graze areas of the land to differing heights, which will help diversify the plants growing in these areas.
“Their droppings also act as a catalyst for invertebrate growth – many different bugs and creatures will feed on the dung they produce, and these in turn will provide sustenance for the larger animals on campus such as foxes and badgers.
“It will also help us to substantially reduce costs – clearing the fen by hand would take an extremely long time and require many man hours.”
The four cows are owned by local farmer Nigel Darling, who said: “Highland cattle are very suitable for rough grazing, as they eat plants such as reeds, in addition to normal grass.
“They are also extremely hardy, and do not require accommodation at night or in bad weather. They will be right at home at the university.”
The cows stay at UEA until the end of autumn on a trial basis, and could return next year in greater numbers if the trial is successful.
On Twitter, the puns are coming in thick and fast. Keep the coming – comment below, but don’t milk it.
@uniofeastanglia I think it’s udderly pointless.
— Dan Coman (@lacesoutdan) September 4, 2012