Donetsk, Feb 24 – DAN. The Khomutovskaya Steppe – Meotida Natural Reserve plans to open a stable for thirty horses that are part of the ecosystem restoration project.

The director of the natural reserve Galina Marchenko told DAN that the stable will meet all necessary standards to make horses feel comfortable.

"We hope to begin the construction in spring, we are currently developing the project," she said.

Today 34 horses spend time turned out, and can hide from the elements in a run-in shed. Their new home of 60 by 15 meters will provide them with 15 sq m stalls, and 19 sq m stalls for mares with foals.

Horses must keep the eye contact with each other, Marchenko said, it's in their blood to live in herds, otherwise they might suffer physiological trauma.

The horses take part in the conservation project aimed to sustain endangered flora.

"Their hooves remove dry grass from the ground and new plants are growing instead. This is how flora is spread, including 64 critically endangered plants."

According to Marchenko, horse population "is quite large for the area", and the herd must be separated to avoid intermarriage and genetic mutations.

The Khomutovskaya Steppe natural reserve is located in the Novoazovsk region of the DPR, its protected biosphere area constitutes 50 percent of the DPR total reserve lands. Khomutovskaya Steppe covers more than 18,000 ha, 7,746 of them are in the Azov seawaters. It contains more than 600 varieties of steppe plants including rare and endemic plants; dozens of mammal, reptile, amphibian, and fish species live there, as well as 1,500 insect species. *ot