Wild horses return to Kazakhstan after two centuries

The iconic Przewalski horses, the world's last remaining wild species, have made their return to the steppes of Kazakhstan after 200 years

After a two-century absence, wild horses are once again roaming freely in the steppes of Kazakhstan. This historic event was made possible through the dedicated efforts of wildlife conservationists.

The seven Przewalski’s horses, named after the Russian explorer who discovered the species in the late 1800s, were transported by airplane and truck before being released into the unspoiled nature of the Central Asian country after a journey of about 25 hours.

So far, the horses—four mares, two fillies, and one stallion—had lived in zoos in Prague and Berlin, far from their natural habitat. Now, they have rediscovered the thrill of freedom, although they will remain under researchers’ supervision for about a year to ensure they can withstand the cold and parasites.

wild horses return to kazakhstan

@Václav Šilha/Zoo di Praga

In the coming years, more horses are expected to join them. The goal of the “Return of the Wild Horses” project is to bring at least 40 wild horses back to Kazakhstan.

About the species

Przewalski’s horses (Equus ferus przewalskii), also known as Mongolian horses, thaki, or dzungarian horses, are an endangered species native to the steppes of Central Asia. They have a sturdy and stocky appearance, weighing an average of about 660 pounds. Research has shown that these animals appeared in European cave art dating back 20,000 years.

wild horses return to kazakhstan

@Return of the Wild Horses 2024

These fascinating creatures differ from domestic horses by having an extra pair of chromosomes. After becoming extinct in the wild last century, wild horses have been reintroduced in Mongolia and other parts of Eastern Europe since the 1990s. Thanks to the efforts of conservationists, they will now also reproduce again in Kazakhstan.

Sources: Return of the Wild Horses 2024/Zoo di Praga

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