Rare foal born from breed once ‘wiped out’ in the wild

  • A wild animal park is celebrating the birth of a rare foal from a breed which was once “wiped out completely” in the wild.

    Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve, owned by a charity in Ashford which breeds some of the world’s most endangered species, welcomed the arrival of a Przewalksi foal to parents Naim and Tergaan on 20 September.

    Credit: Dave Rolfe

    Head of the hoofstock section at the reserve, Joel Bunce, said: “We’re delighted to welcome this little female to our herd of Przewalski horses. She will help ensure the survival of the species, which was once wiped out completely.

    “We have previously returned these horses to the wild in China and Mongolia and we are looking into returning more of these wonderful animals to their native habitat in the near future.”

    The Przewalski horse, which is native to Mongolia, was declared extinct in the wild in the 1970s. Through a breeding programme the species was successfully bred in captivity and protected.

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature reduced the classification to critically endangered in 2008, and after positive reintroductions to the wild horses, their status was further reduced to endangered in 2011.

    Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve is owned by the Aspinall Foundation, a world leading conservation charity, and profits from the park go towards helping the foundation to save rare and endangered species in the UK and overseas.

    Mr Bunce said: “This little foal is doing really well and it’s lovely to watch her finding her feet and becoming bolder on a daily basis, although she doesn’t leave her mother’s side for too long.”

    Visitors can see the foal and the herd of wild horses on the park’s “Asian experience” from the free safari trucks that travel through the park.

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