At the beginning of the 20th century there were more than 40,000 sheep in the Kempen area, but by 1965 they were almost extinct. The invention of chemical fertilizer and barbed wire along with the industrial revolution lead to more intense farming practices which made the sheep obsolete. The heath area was reduced to 10% of its former size and became protected as a nature reserve. Only then did conservationists begin to realize that sheep grazing was the only way to save the biodiversity in the reserve. Thus the Stichting Het Kempische Heideschaap (foundation) was created in Heeze in 1967. In February 2006 the new Slow Food convivium De Kempen to create a market for the sheep thus maintaining the flock. Now days there is a visitor center and a sheep adoption program tageted at local families and the heath is criss crossed by trails used by local cyclists. To see photos of the Kempen Heath, go to "Travel Photos" at the top of the Home Page of colinscreatures.com.
Height 5 1/2"