In the 90’s Taronga released Przewalski’s horse’s into the Hustai in Mongolia. Today we are working with Minnesota Zoo and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, to protect the health of this population.
In the late 1960s, the Przewalski’s horse – the last truly wild horse species on the planet – vanished from its last known refuge in Mongolia, driven to near extinction by humans. Thankfully, zoos and wildlife parks throughout the world were able to rescue some horses before they disappeared. Over the next several decades, these fourteen rescued horses were successfully bred in captivity to a larger population and eventually, in the 1990s, their descendants were released back into the wild. The Przewalski’s horse has returned from the brink of extinction, but its future in the wild remains uncertain. One of the first reintroduced populations in Hustai NP has grown to over 300 individuals, making it the largest population of Przewalski’s horse in the world. However, the species remains conservation-dependent and horse groups at Hustai are using only 35% of the suitable habitat available to them. One harsh winter could eliminate their population. In partnership with the Smithsonian Conservation Biologist Institute, we propose working with Hustai to (1) increase knowledge of Przewalski’s horse ecology; (2) expand the land use of released horses within Hustai; (3) build capacity of Hustai staff for monitoring, research, and management; and (4) assess the impact of current habitat improvements to inform future management strategies. Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute conducts research relating to animal management and reproductive science to gain an understanding of specific species and their biology, as well as develop management options for the survival of rare animals in the wild. From programs we implement here to our efforts around the world, the Minnesota Zoo aims to be a leader in the conservation of animals and their habitats.