Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Three Przewalski’s horses flown from Austria to their homeland

Three Przewalski’s horses from Prague Zoo have been flown to Mongolia to begin a new life in their country of origin.

The mares made the journey aboard an Austrian military transport plane.

It is the fourth time the zoo, which breeds the endangered species, has sent Przewalski’s horses to Mongolia with help from the country’s military.

The horses had two stopovers in Russia during the 17.5-hour flight.

Their new home is the Gobi B National Park.

Prague Zoo has a long and proud history in preserving the Przewalski’s horse and founded a captive breeding program aimed at reintroducing them into the wild. It has been breeding the horses since 1932 and has kept the international pedigree book of the species since 1959.

The Przewalski’s horse is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The Przewalsk’si horse once inhabitated the grasslands of central Asia, but became extinct in the wild in the late 1960s and early 1970s due to hunting and pressure from agriculture.

Since then, efforts have been made to introduce monitored herds back to their native country.

They were first described in 1881 by Russian zoologist I.S. Poliakov. He named them after Russian explorer Nikolai Przewalski.

The species has never been successfully domesticated.

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