The Stables

The Rare and Endangered Przewalski Horse

The only truly wild horse is the Przewalski’s horse which is a rare and endangered native from central Asia. These short and muscular horses stand around 12 -14h high with the breed mainly have a brown to dun coat together with a pale underbelly and muzzle. They have a dark dorsal stripe that runs down their short and upward mane, down the spine to its black tail.

This breed is named after the Russian geographer and explorer Nikolay Przhevalsky who discovered many unknown species to European science through the 18th century, including breeds of gazelle and camels also.


Modern Day Wild Horses

To determine actual wild horses today, the American Mustang or the Australian Brumby are all feral horses that have descended from domesticated horses that escaped and adapted life in the wild. The Przewalski was never domesticated and it has long been considered the only true wild horse existing in the world today.

Going back to 1945, there were only 31 known Przewalski horses in the world in two zoos – Munich and Prague. By the end of the 1950’s only twelve remained. The Zoological Society of London then stepped in and worked with Mongolian researchers to conserve the breed. Their breeding programs were so successful that the species resurged to over 1,500 in the early 1990’s. In the last official count back in 2008, there was close to only 2,000 Przewalski horses alive worldwide improving its status from critically endangered to endangered.

In the wild, the horses form mainly small family groups that have an adult stallion with three mares and their offspring. Young males tend to be expelled from the herd to form groups of bachelor stallions. Stallions tend to defend their mares and foals and stay with their preferred partner for years.

Przewalski Horses Future

The future of the Przewalski horse is promising with many projects throughout the world working hard to protect the breed. For example, the Xinjiang Wild Horse Breeding Centre bred a large number of them resulting in 55 being released into the Kalamely Mountain area. Luckily the species adapted well to this environment. Prague Zoo started a new cycle of transporting the horses to the wild, with the full support of the public and conservation projects which still continues today.

by Samantha Hobden

Image credit: Pixabay