Grazing ponies destroying New Forest in UK

The remnants of a once-lush ancient forest in the United Kingdom is being overgrazed by ponies, a naturalist says.

Ponies, cattle and deer freely graze throughout the New Forest, a habitat that is home to more than 90 percent of the reptile habitat and trees that are hundreds of years old, according to The Guardian.

However, the population of ponies has more than doubled from about 2,000 in 1960 to about 5,000 now, which corresponds with the loss of woodland habitat.

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"In simplistic terms, we have a New Forest now but we won't have a New Forest tomorrow because there is simply no regeneration taking place," Chris Packham, who has lived in the forest for 12 years, told The Guardian. "These trees are 300 to 450 years old and they're being killed by ponies which are starving because there are too many of them. It's unforgivable."

Experts agree.

"We know that an estimated 170 species have been lost over recent decades and that can be partially attributed to overgrazing," Sam Manning, founder of Wilder, a conservation group, told The Guardian.

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