Horse

Rare Przewalski's Foal Adds to Breeding Success


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The staff at Australia’s Taronga Western Plains Zoo is delighted by the birth of a male Przewalski’s Horse foal born on May 25.

This is the fourth foal for experienced mother Genghis, who is taking motherhood in her stride.

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Photo Credit: Taronga Western Plains Zoo

 

“The foal has been named Khan, as a tribute to his mother,” said keeper Jack Foley. “So far we couldn’t be happier with how both mother and foal are doing. Khan is staying close to his mother and is still finding his place in the herd. He can often be spotted sleeping in the sun during the day.”

“Khan is the second new arrival to the herd this year, with a filly named Dash born on January 1. As Khan grows he will interact more with Dash and no doubt we’ll see them galloping around the paddock together.”

“Genghis is a very relaxed, easy going mother and has been a pillar of the breeding program at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, with two of her four foals having already bred, carrying on this important genetic line to another generation.”

“At the moment Khan has quite a woolly looking coat however, as winter passes and the weather starts to warm up he will start to shed this layer,” said Jack.

Khan was born just before the July 3 opening of the new Wild Herds exhibit. Wild Herds is a newly redeveloped area that will showcase the Przewalski’s Horse and Taronga’s successful breeding program for this species and its role in helping to bring them back from the brink of extinction.

The Przewalski’s Horse is classified as Endangered, but they were once extinct in the wild and lived only in zoos. Prior to reintroduction programs Przewalski’s Horses were last seen in the wild in the Gobi Desert, in south Mongolia. Their numbers dwindled as a result of human interference such as poaching and capture. Today, their main threats are habitat loss and low genetic diversity.


Critically Endangered Wild Ass Born at Zoo Miami

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Zoo Miami celebrated the birth of a critically endangered Somali Wild Ass on June 16. The foal was born to 10-year-old dad Hakim and 13-year-old mom Stella. 

The unnamed foal, the 8th born at Zoo Miami, is now in the zoo’s exhibit habitat with Stella and seems to be integrating well into the small herd.  A neonatal exam determined that the foal is a male and appears healthy, weighing 46 pounds.

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Somali Wild Asses are the world’s most critically endangered Asses with less than 1,000 believed to still exist in the rugged, rocky deserts of eastern Africa.  This species is the last remaining ancestor of the modern Donkey and is the smallest of the wild Equids. Adults weigh approximately 500 pounds and mares typically give birth to a single foal after an 11-month gestation. 

Somali Wild Asses are characterized by a smooth gray coat and striped legs, which are a clue to their close relationship to zebras.

Zoo Miami began exhibiting the highly endangered Somali Wild Ass in 2011.  All the adult animals are on loan from the San Diego Wild Animal Park and arrived here as part of a carefully planned breeding program designed to maintain healthy populations of these extremely rare animals for generations to come.  

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Photogenic Przewalski’s Foal Born at Whipsnade Zoo

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An endangered Przewalski’s Horse foal has been born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo!

Once classified as extinct in the wild, the Przewalski’s Horse is a rare species of wild horse. Thanks to conservation breeding efforts by organisations, such as the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the species has been reintroduced to its native habitat in Mongolia.

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The Przewalski's Horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) is the last true wild horse. They are the only living, wild ancestor of the domestic horse that has survived to the present day.

They are named after Nikolai Przewalski, the Russian explorer who first brought specimens back for a formal description in the 1870s. But the first time the species was made known to the West was in the 1763 published accounts of a Scottish doctor, John Bell, who travelled with Tsar Peter the Great.

This wild horse has a stocky body with robust, short legs, a short neck and an erect mane. Typical height of the species is about 12–14 hands (48–56 inches, 122–142 cm), and their length is about 2.1 m (6 ft 11 in). On average, they weigh around 300 kilograms (660 lb).

The hooves of the Przewalski's Horse are longer in the back and have a thick sole horn. This characteristic improves the performance of the hooves.

The species is currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. According to the IUCN: “Previously listed as Extinct in the Wild (EW) from the 1960s up to the assessment in 1996. The species was then reassessed as Critically Endangered (CR) due to at least one surviving mature individual in the wild. Successful reintroductions have qualified this species for reassessment. The population is currently estimated to consist of more than 50 mature individuals free-living in the wild for the past seven years. This taxon is threatened by small population size and restricted range, potential hybridization with domestic horses, loss of genetic diversity, and disease. As the population size is small, it is vulnerable to stochastic events such as severe weather. Equus ferus przewalskii qualifies as Endangered (EN) under Criterion D.”

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New Year Brings New Przewalski's Horse Foal

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The pitter-patter of little hooves has been welcomed at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, with the arrival of a rare Przewalski's Horse foal. The filly was born on January 1 to first-time mother, Zaria.

The Zoo now has a breeding herd of eleven Przewalski's Horses, which are the last surviving subspecies of Wild Horse (Equus ferus), and are native to central Asia. Przewalski's Horses are also called ‘takhi’ which means ‘spirit’ in Mongolia.

“This foal has been named Dash, and she has certainly been living up to her name,” Keeper Pascale Benoit said. “She is healthy and well, and has plenty of energy, especially in the mornings. She can be seen dashing around and even lets out a tiny, high-pitched whinny when her mother strays too far away.”

“Dash is starting to become more independent, and while she generally stays close by her mother’s side, she is spending more and more time exploring and interacting with the herd,” Benoit said.

Dash’s father, Nikolai, was born at Werribee Open Range Zoo in 2012 and came to Taronga Western Plains Zoo in October 2016. Nikolai’s genetics make him an important breeding individual for the region, and thus a valuable addition to the Zoo’s Przewalski’s Horse breeding program.

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4_Przewalski's Horse foalPhoto Credits: Rick Stevens/Taronga Western Plains Zoo

In 1995, five Przewalski’s Horses from Taronga Western Plains Zoo were flown to Mongolia and reintroduced to the wild in the Gobi Desert, as part of a herd assembled by world zoos. Through this collaboration, numbers have continued to steadily increase in Mongolia.

“There are now almost 2,000 Przewalski’s Horses in human care and in the wild today, which is a huge step for this species, that was once extinct in the wild,” Pascale said.

The foal’s birth represents yet another success for the Zoo’s breeding program, which saw another female foal, Naruu, born in February 2017. Keepers are awaiting the arrival of a second Przewalski’s Horse foal for the 2018 season, to mare Genghis, also sired by Nikolai.

Prior to reintroduction programs, Przewalski's Horses were last seen in the wild in the 1960s in the Gobi Desert, in south Mongolia. Their numbers dwindled as a result of human interference, such as poaching and capture. Today, their main threats include habitat loss and low genetic diversity.

Later this year, Taronga Western Plains Zoo will unveil a new exhibit for the Przewalski’s Horse to better tell the story of this incredible species.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is located in Dubbo in Central Western NSW.

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Endangered Foal Joins Herd at Highland Wildlife Park

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A rare Przewalski’s Horse foal has been born at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park. The youngster can now be spotted trotting around the main reserve with the small herd.

The arrival of the foal represents a potentially important contribution to Przewalski’s Horse conservation, with the species currently listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. The species had previously been listed as extinct in the wild, following the last official sighting in 1968, but was reclassified in 2011 following the success of a number of reintroduction projects, including to its native Mongolia.

Douglas Richardson, Head of Living Collections at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, said, “For the Przewalski’s Horse to go from being extinct in the wild to once again roaming the Mongolian Steppe is directly attributable to the efforts of the legitimate zoo community. Had it not been for the managed captive population, there would have been no horses to return to the wild. Although there is still a need to continue to augment the small wild herds, and our latest foal may play a part, the story of the horse’s recovery is a classic example of the important conservation role that good zoos are uniquely equipped to fulfill.”

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The Przewalski's Horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) is the last true wild horse. They are the only living, wild ancestor of the domestic horse that has survived to the present day.

They are named after Nikolai Przewalski, the Russian explorer who first brought specimens back for a formal description in the 1870s. But the first time the species was made known to the West was in the 1763 published accounts of a Scottish doctor, John Bell, who travelled with Tsar Peter the Great.

This wild horse has a stocky body with robust, short legs, a short neck and an erect mane. Typical height of the species is about 12–14 hands (48–56 inches, 122–142 cm), and their length is about 2.1 m (6 ft 11 in). On average, they weigh around 300 kilograms (660 lb).

The hooves of the Przewalski's Horse are longer in the back and have a thick sole horn. This characteristic improves the performance of the hooves.

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Endangered Foal Born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

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Taronga Western Plains Zoo recently announced the arrival of a female Przewalski’s Horse foal!

The filly was born February 22, 2017. She has been named Nuruu after the national park in Mongolia called ‘Khustain Nuruu’, which is one of the few parks where the Przewalski’s Horse can be found in the wild today.

Nuruu is the fourth foal born to experienced mother Suren and sire is Stan. “Both mother and foal are doing well. Nuruu is growing stronger every day and is nursing from her mother regularly across the day,” said Keeper Anthony Dorian.

“Suren is being a fantastic mother. She is very protective and nurturing of her foal and is ensuring none of the other herd members get too close.”

“Both Suren and Nuruu are developing a great bond and Nuruu generally stays by her mother’s side most of the day. She does however enjoy a gallop around the paddock in the mornings,” said Anthony.

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Nuruu is the first foal to be born for the year at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, with more expected towards the end of the year. Taronga Western Plains Zoo has a successful history with its breeding program for Przewalski’s Horse. Since the breeding program commenced in 1982 the Zoo has welcomed over 35 foals.

In 1995, Taronga Western Plains Zoo was part of a re-introduction program that saw five Przewalski’s Horses sent from Dubbo to Mongolia to support a collaboration of Zoos releasing animals into the Gobi Desert to boost the declining wild population.

The Przewalski’s Horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) is classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN, and as recently as 1996 was classified as extinct in the wild.

On average, Przewalski females are able to give birth at the age of three and have a gestation period of about 11 to 12 months. Their reproduction process is seasonal, and in Mongolia the season is towards the end of May, June, or July.

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Foal Part of Conservation Success Story

Bukhara_Kellsey Melhuish (2)Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo are delighted to announce the birth of a Przewalski’s Horse foal, born on January 20.

The female foal has been named Bukhara after a reserve in Uzbekistan, Mongolia, where the population of this Critically Endangered species is regaining a foothold after being declared Extinct in the wild.

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“Both mother and foal are doing well. The foal is staying close to her mother’s side although she is starting to become curious about her surroundings. She continues to gain strength and confidence,” said Unit Supervisor Pascale Benoit.

Native to central Asia, the Przewalski’s Horse is Critically Endangered and was once classified as Extinct in the wild. In 1995, five Przewalski’s Horses from Taronga Western Plains Zoo were flown to Mongolia and reintroduced to the wild in the Gobi Desert as part of a herd assembled by zoos from around the world. Since then, the Horses’ numbers have steadily increased in Mongolia.

“There are now almost 2,000 Przewalski’s Horses in human care and in the wild today, which is a huge step for this species that was once Extinct in the wild,” said Pascale.


Rare Foal Springs Into Scotland

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A spunky Przewalski’s Horse was born on April 30 at Scotland’s Highland Wildlife Park.  Once extinct in the wild, Przewalski’s (pronounced Shevalsky’s) or Mongolian Wild Horses have been reintroduced to their native habitat thanks to the efforts of several European zoos.

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The little foal, which has not yet been named, follows its mother Val around the drive-through reserve and appears to be healthy and strong.

Found in the steppes of Central Asia, Przelwalski’s Wild Horses are the last surviving species of wild Horse and are classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Formally listed as extinct in the wild in 1969, the IUCN reclassified Przelwalski’s Wild Horses to Endangered after the species was successfully re-introduced into their native Mongolia in 1992.

Though zoos have had success breeding this species and they have become reestablished in the wild, Przelwalski’s Wild Horse populations are still considered precarious, partly due to threats from poachers. 


Zoo Basel Welcomes a Critically Endangered Somali Wild Ass

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A Somali Wild Ass has been born at Zoo Basel in Switzerland! The foal, named Lakisha, was born quickly and easily on March 27. Zoo Basel is a world leader in the conservation of this Critically Endangered species: Lakisha is the forty-first Somali Wild Ass to be born and raised at this zoo since 1972.

Mom Djara gave birth to her foal in the middle of the day. Coming head and front legs first, Lakisha plopped into the straw and was on her feet just half an hour later! It took another half an hour for the filly to nurse from her mother for the first time. No one was present at the birth and Djara could bond with Lakisha in peace.

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Lakisha’s father, Gigolo, has been living at Stuttgart Zoo in Germany since last November. The breeding of Somali Wild Asses in captivity is coordinated by a European Endangered Species Program, helping to ensure that pairings avoid inbreeding and produce healthy offspring. 

The Somali Wild Ass and Nubian Wild Ass are subspecies of the African Wild Ass. According the International Union for Conservation of Nature, there are fewer than 1,000 African Wild Asses remaining in the wild. Their major threats are hunting for food and medicinal purposes, and competition with livestock for forage and sources of water.  The Somali subspecies occurs in small populations in Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia.

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Five Wild Ass Foals Boost Endangered Species

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A record five Somali Wild Ass foals were born between August 19 and October 15 at the Saint Louis Zoo, making a significant addition to the zoo population of these critically endangered animals. Only 51 Somali Wild Asses live in zoos, with 11 at the Saint Louis Zoo.

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Photo Credit: Robin Winkelman/Saint Louis Zoo

 

Meet the foals:

  • A male named Hirizi (Swahili for charm or amulet) weighed 48 pounds at birth.
  • A female named Farah (which means joy or cheerfulness) weighed 58 pounds at birth.
  • A female named Luana (which means enjoyment) weighed 53 pounds at birth.
  • A male named Tristan (which means clever one) 66.5 pounds at birth.
  • A male named Rebel weighed 52 pounds at birth.

The father of all five foals is Abai, who came from Switzerland’s Basel Zoo in 2005. Abai has had a total of nine offspring born at the Saint Louis Zoo.

The Somali Wild Ass is a critically endangered member of the Horse family, with only 1,000 individuals surviving in desert areas of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. An expanding human population, subsistence hunting, and poitical unrest in the region threaten the Somali Wild Ass’s future.

The youngsters have the same markings as their parents – gray body, white belly, and horizontal black stripes on the legs, similar to Zebras.

The Somali Wild Ass is the smallest of all wild Horses, Asses and Zebras. Adults stand about four feet tall at the shoulder and weigh about 600 pounds. Long, narrow hooves—the narrowest of any wild horse -- enable the animals to be swift and surefooted in their rough, rocky habitat.

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