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Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo are delighted by the arrival of a Przewalski's Horse foal which was born on Tuesday, 12 May 2009 in the early hours of the morning.

The yet-to-be-named filly is the offspring of father Ronald and mother Kyakhta.  This is the first foal for Kyakhta and both mother and foal are doing well.

"Kyakhta is a great first time mum, she is very nurturing and doesn't like to let her foal out of sight," said keeper Jackie Stuart.

"The foal is very active and loves to go for a gallop around the exhibit in the morning often kicking out and frolicking around after being let out of the night yard."

"This new arrival is an important addition to the breeding program as in the future, when she is mature she will be paired with an unrelated stallion at the Zoo and continue to contribute to the genetic diversity amongst the captive population," said Jackie.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is home to the second largest herd of Przewalski's Horse in the Australasian region.  The animals are divided into a number of smaller herds which are kept both on and off display.

The Przewalski's Horse, or Takhi as they are known in Mongolia, became extinct in the wild in 1968, and it is because of breeding programs such as the one here at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, that we have been able to reintroduce some animals back into the wild.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo has had many successes with the Przewalski's Horse breeding program since joining in May 1982.  In June 1995, Taronga Western Plains Zoo sent five mares along with others from Australia and Europe, to Mongolia where they were reintroduced into the wild.

The Przewalski's Horse was discovered in 1869 and is considered to be the only surviving species of wild horse, and although they are physically resilient, it is believed that their numbers decreased so dramatically due to competition for food and water, and hunting pressures.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is located at Dubbo in Central Western NSW.  The Zoo is open everyday from 9am - 4pm.  For more information contact 02 6881 1400 or visit www.taronga.org.au.

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