Endangered wild horses en route to native Mongolia

19th Jul 2012

Saving a rare species from extinction can sometimes mean a huge road trip - for the animals.

This week four rare Przewalski's mares are travelling 18 hours by plane from Prague to their native land of Mongolia, where they are being reintroduced.

But the epic journey doesn't end with the flights.

For once the wild horses arrive in Bulgan, 200 kilometres north-west of Mongolia's capital Ulan Bator, they will be taken by road to the Gobi B national park, where the severe winter of 2009-2010 had a devastating impact upon the species' population numbers.

A breeding programme at Prague Zoo is responsible for maintaining the international genealogy book for the ancient horse, which has been kept and bred in captivity since 1969, when the last wild horse was seen on the Mongolian steppe.

"The mares are more nervous than last year," said Prague Zoo director Miroslav Bobek, comparing this year's group with the four horses sent to Mongolia in 2011.

"They must be animals of an adequate age, with the correct genetic set-up, in a good shape, and we also chose them by character to avoid taking mares susceptible to stress," Bobek said, adding:

"We'd like to continue with the transports to Mongolia... where we're trying to create sustainable conditions for both the horses and the people who live close to them."


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