Plans are underway for Przewalski’s horses to be returned to the wild in Mongolia
Around 18 Przewalski’s horses from a number of European countries are expected to be returned to the Gobi Desert, close to Mongolia’s border with China, this summer as part of a project to reintroduce the horse back into the wild.
One of the organisations taking part in the project is the Marwell Trust from Winchester,Hants.Ecologist Tim Woodfine who is heading the project in the UK says:
“The Przewalski’s horse is unique as the only truly wild horse left on the planet. Other horses that run wild are from domestic stock. In Mongolia it is a big culture icon to the people,” he said..
“Putting the horses back into the wild is not only a remarkable thing for animal conservation, it also helps to put back balance into the eco-system.
“A project at Eelmoor Marsh on land ownedby an air-technology company, Quinetiq, by Farnborough airfields in Hampshire has helped to increase the numbers of wild plant species.”
There are around four stallions kept on 170 acres of fenced land at the site.
“It’s a way of getting the stallions used to being together as a group as they would be in the wild, which is impossible to do in the confined spaces of a zoo.”
The European co-ordinator for the project, Waltraut Zimmermann, said: “We plan to havethree groups and before they are released, they will be acclimatised to their new surroundings for some weeks in pens.”
There are already around 35 Przewalski’s horses on the land from a project to re-introduce them in 1992.
The horse became extinct in the wild at the end of the 1960s, but a number had been kept in captivity.