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Rare plant, animal species can be found in Prague

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Prague, May 21 (CTK) – Rare species of plants and animals, such as the protected Siberian iris and the Eresus kollari spider, can be found in several localities in the capital of Prague, its City Hall spokesman Vit Hofman has told CTK on Monday.

The number of visitors to these localities must be regulated to preserve the rare species in the wild, he added.

The blue-violet Siberian iris (Iris sibirica) and the purple western marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza majalis) are growing in the area of the Hrncirske louky meadows on the southern outskirts of Prague and U Haju in the Stodulky neighbourhood.

Steppe localities have become the habitat of the Eresus kollari red-coloured spider that seeks the warmest places in the country. There are also some endangered plants, such as the small pasque flower (Pulsatilla pratensis) with typical violet and white blooms and Dictamnus albus, the only plant of the Rutaceae family growing in the wild in the Czech Republic, in the Prague steppes.

“The highest concentration of these species is in Prokopske udoli valley, Divoka Sarka and on rocks around the Vltava (Moldau) river canyon on the north edge of Prague,” Hofman said.

The colourful beetle Anthaxia candens lives in Prague thanks to the care for cherry orchards that this gorgeous beetle likes. Prague and its surroundings have become one of the epicentres of its appearance.

Out of the very rare plants, Gagea bohemia with yellow blooms grows in Prague.

One of the ways of protecting rare plants and animals is to use Prague meadows as a grazing land for farm animals. Sheep and goats have been grazing on the specially protected areas in the capital since 2010. Herds of cattle have been on Prague meadows since 2012.

By grazing the grass, animals harm turfs, thus creating areas without any vegetation that are environmentally beneficial for the species diversity. This opens space to the animal species that are not so competitive in the environment, such as the invertebrates, including the Hymenoptera insect order living in the ground, and some beetles that are hunting on these bare grounds.

The pastures in Prague are changing year-on-year to prevent the grazing of the same plants every year.

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