Taronga Western Plains Zoo has double the reason to celebrate with the birth of two endangered Przewalski’s Horse foals just one day apart. The species was once completely extinct in the wild.
Keepers are delighted with the arrival of a female Przewalski’s Horse foal to mother Mila on October 9, and a male foal to mother Tegus on October 10.
The sire of both foals is Nikolai, and both mothers are first time moms, creating further genetic diversity in the herd. The mothers are each being very protective of their foals, a natural maternal behavior.
“Both foals were born on exhibit during the day time, much to the delight of visitors,” said Keeper Jacinta Vaughan. “The foals were standing and suckling quickly and we couldn’t be happier with how both mums are doing given they are first time mothers.”
The Przewalski’s Horse foals are yet to be named but are both doing well so far. The foals will stay close to their mothers’ sides as they grow, and they will start to explore their surroundings over the coming months.
“This year has been very successful for the Przewalski’s Horse breeding program with four foals born to date and potentially another one on the way in the coming few months,” Jacinta said.
The two new foals bring the total Przewalski’s Horse herd to 14, with four foals in the herd, including Dash born in January and Khan born in May this year.
“It’s so wonderful to see the foals of varying ages in the herd. Khan and Dash are already interacting with each other and enjoy galloping around the paddock, so I am sure the two latest additions will join them once they are a little older and more confident,” said Jacinta.
Przewalski’s Horses are classified as Endangered, but were once extinct in the wild. Prior to reintroduction programs in the early 1990s, 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.
See more photos of the foals below.