Some unusual characters have made a return appearance at Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve and Welsh Wildlife Centre in Cilgerran.

Eight female water buffalo have been re-introduced to graze the marshes of the reserve, in areas which are not suitable for domestic cattle because of the long periods of time spent in the water.

The animals are owned by the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust and will be at the centre for the summer season.

They keep areas clear of invasive plants such as willow scrub and reed mace to maintain the habitats in a pristine condition.

Nathan Walton, Wildlife Trust officer for Pembrokeshire, will be keeping a careful eye on their impact and assessing their progress as a conservation management tool.

He said: “It is great to see these animals back on the reserve once again and they have wasted no time in making themselves feel at home.

“It is also a welcome sight — and surprise — for visitors, with many not knowing they are here until they are seen from the paths and bird hides on site, wallowing in pools.”

Nathan added: “The water buffalo like nothing better than wallowing, which creates depressions and ponds which are a perfect habitat for insects such as dragonflies, and attract a wide range of native and migratory birds.”

The buffalo choose some areas for clean drinking water, others for wallowing and other areas as toilets.

They are also very intelligent, and in this case, docile animals.

The young ones learn patterns quickly and are often reluctant to change their habits.

The centre’s new additions can be seen in the marshes adjoining the entrance gate, next to the main car park of the reserve.