Since then, people have worked to preserve habitat and reintroduce animals from zoos to the protected lands. The Asian wild horses went extinct in the wild because of hunting and competition for space with livestock and humans.
Despite going extinct in the wild, the species thrived in breeding programs in human care. Transfers of horses from the United States, England, and Germany helped the population grow.
Starting in 1990, offspring of these horses were released back into the wild in Mongolia and China. In the past, the Minnesota Zoo has supported reintroduction efforts in Asia through the Ulysses S. Seal Conservation Fund.
Zoo scientists are currently working to save the species in Mongolia and China through active research under the True Wild Horse Campaign. Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalian Order: Perissodactyla Family: Equine Genus: Equus Species: Subspecies: Trinomial name Equus ferns przewalskii Przewalski's horse range(reintroduced) Synonyms A Przewalski's horse in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone Przewalski's horse (pronounced or ; Polish: ), Equus przewalskii or Equus ferns przewalskii, also called the take, Mongolian wild horse or Dzungaria horse, is a rare and endangered horse native to the steppes of Central Asia.
At one time extinct in the wild, it has been reintroduced to its native habitat since the 1990s in Mongolia at the Sustain Nurse National Park, Taken Tail Nature Reserve, and Khomeini Tail. It is named after the Russian geographer and explorer Mikoaj Przewalski.
Most wild horses today, such as the American mustang or the Australian crumby, are actually feral horses descended from domesticated animals that escaped and adapted to life in the wild. Przewalski's horse was described as a novel species in 1881 by Ivan Semyonovich Poyarkov, although the taxonomic position of Przewalski's horse remains controversial and no consensus exists whether it is a full species (Equus przewalskii), a subspecies of the wild horse (Equus ferns przewalskii, along with two other subspecies, the domesticated horse E. f. Catullus, and the extinct Tarzan E. f. ferns), or even a subpopulation of the domestic horse.
The evolutionary divergence of the two populations was estimated to have occurred about 45,000 GBP, while the archaeological record places the first horse domestication about 5,500 GBP by the ancient central-Asian Bowie culture. The two lineages thus split well before domestication, most likely due to climate, topography, or other environmental changes.
Several subsequent DNA studies produced partially contradictory results. A 2009 molecular analysis using ancient DNA recovered from archaeological sites placed Przewalski's horse in the middle of the domesticated horses.
However, a 2011 mitochondrial DNA analysis suggested that Przewalski's and modern domestic horses diverged some 160,000 years ago. An analysis based on whole genome sequencing and calibration with DNA from old horse bones gave a divergence date of 38-72 thousand years ago.
In 2018, a new analysis involved genomic sequencing of ancient DNA from mid-fourth-millennium BCE Bowie domestic horses, as well as domestic horses from more recent archaeological sites. This allowed for the comparison of these genomes with those of modern domestic and Przewalski's horses.
The study revealed that Przewalski's horses not only belonged to the same genetic lineage as those from the Bowie culture, but may be the feral descendants of these ancient domestic animals, rather than representing a surviving population of never-domesticated horses. Typical height is about 12–14 hands (48–56 inches, 122–142 cm), length is about 2.1 m (6 ft 11 in).
The coat is generally dun with hangar features, varying from dark brown around the mane to pale brown on the flanks and yellowish-white on the belly and around the muzzle. The legs of Przewalski's horse are often faintly striped, also typical of primitive markings.
The mane stands erect and does not extend as far forward, while the tail is about 90 cm (35.43 in) long, with a longer dock and shorter hair than seen in domesticated horses. Many smaller inversions, insertions and other rearrangements were observed between the chromosomes of domestic and Przewalski's horses, while there was much lower hetero bogosity in Przewalski's horses, with extensive segments devoid of genetic diversity, a consequence of the recent severe bottleneck of the captive Przewalski's horse population.
In comparison, the chromosomal differences between domestic horses and zebras include numerous large-scale translocation, fusions, inversions, and centromere repositioning. Przewalski's horse has the highest diploid chromosome number among all equine species.
They can interbreed with the domestic horse and produce fertile offspring (65 chromosomes). Przewalski reported the horses forming troops of between five and fifteen members, consisting of an old stallion, his mares and foals.
Modern reintroduced populations similarly form family groups of one adult stallion, one to three mares, and their common offspring. Offspring stay in the family group until they are no longer dependent, usually at two or three years old.
Family groups can join together to form a herd that moves together. Stallions and mares stay with their preferred partners for years.
Horses maintain visual contact with their family and herd at all times, and have a host of ways to communicate with one another, including vocalizations, scent marking, and a wide range of visual and tactile signals. Each kick, groom, tilt of the ear, or other contact with another horse is a means of communicating.
This constant communication leads to complex social behaviors among Przewalski's horses. The historic population was said to have lived in the “wildest parts of the desert” with a preference for “especially saline districts”.
They were observed mostly during spring and summer at natural wells, migrating to them by crossing valleys rather than by way of higher mountains. Przewalski horse's diet consists mostly of vegetation.
Many plant species are in a typical Przewalski's horse environment, including: Olympus repent, Care SPP., Panacea, and Asteraceae. In the springtime, they favor Olympus repent, Corynephorus cancers, Fistula Valeria, and Chenopodium album.
In winter, for example, the horses eat Sal ix SPP., Cyrus communist, Males salvation, Minus Sylvester, Rosa SPP., and Anus SPP. Additionally, Przewalski's horses may dig for Fistula SPP., Bro mus INERIS, and E. repent that grow beneath the ice and snow.
Their winter diet is very similar to the diet of domestic horses, but differs from that revealed by isotope analysis of the historical (receptivity) population, which switched in winter to browsing shrubs, though the difference may be due to the extreme habitat pressure the historical population was under. In the wintertime, Przewalski's horses experience hypodermis, a condition in which their metabolic rate slows down.
They eat their food more slowly than they do during other times of the year. Looking at the species' diet overall, however, Przewalski's horses most often eat E. repent, Trillium pretense, Via crack, POA trivial is, Dactylic agglomerate, and Bro mus INERIS.
Mating occurs in late spring or early summer. Females are able to give birth at the age of three and have a gestation period of 11–12 months.
The rate of infant mortality among foals is 25%, with 83.3% of these deaths resulting from leading stallion infanticide. Foals begin grazing within a few weeks but are not weaned for 8–13 months after birth.
They reach sexual maturity at two years of age. There are sporadic reports of Przewalski's horse in the historical record prior to its formal characterization.
The Buddhist monk Bogota wrote a description of what is thought to have been Przewalski's horse about AD 900 In the fifteenth century, Johann Schiltberger recorded one of the first European sightings of the horses in the journal recounting his trip to Mongolia as a prisoner of the Mongol Khan. John Bell, a Scottish doctor in service to Peter the Great from 1719 to 1722, observed a horse in Russia's Tomsk Oblast that was apparently this species, and a few decades later in 1750, a large hunt with thousands of beaters organized by the Manchurian emperor killed between two and three hundred of these horses.
An explorer and naturalist, he obtained a skull and hide from an animal shot in 1878 in the Gobi near what is today's China-Mongolia border, and he would make an expedition into the Dzungaria Basin to observe it in the wild. In 1881, the horse received a formal scientific description and was named Equus przevalskii by Ivan Semyonovich Poyarkov, based on Przewalski's collection and description, while in 1884, the sole exemplar of the horse in Europe was a preserved specimen in the Museum of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg.
This was supplemented in 1894 when the brothers Grum-Grzhimailo returned several hides and skulls to St. Petersburg and provided a description of the horse's behavior in the wild. A number of these horses were captured around 1900 by Carl Heisenberg and placed in zoos, and these, along with one later captive, reproduced to give rise to today's population.
Headshot, showing convex profileAfter 1903, there were no reports of the wild population until 1947, when several isolated groups were observed and a lone filly captured. Although local herdsmen reported seeing as many as 50 to 100 this grazing in small groups at that time, there were only sporadic sightings of single groups of two or three animals thereafter, mostly near natural wells.
Two scientific expeditions in 1955 and 1962 failed to find any, and after herders and naturalists reported single harem groups in 1966 and 1967, the last observation of the wild horse in its native habitat was of a single stallion in 1969. Expeditions after this failed to locate any horses, and the species would be designated “extinct in the wild for over 30 years.
Competition with livestock, hunting, capture of foals for zoological collections, military activities, and harsh winters recorded in 1945, 1948, and 1956 are considered to be main causes of the decline in Przewalski's horse population. The wild population was already rare at the time of its first scientific characterization.
Przewalski reported seeing them only from a distance and may actually have instead sighted herds of local Mongolian asses, and he was only able to obtain the type specimen from Kirghiz hunters. The range of Przewalski's horse was limited to the arid in the Gobi Desert.
It has been suggested that this was not their natural habitat, but that instead they were like the local populations of Onsager, a steppe animal driven to this inhospitable last refuge by the dual pressures of hunting and habitat loss to agricultural grazing. There were two distinct populations recognized by local Mongolians, a lighter steppe variety and a darker mountain one, and this distinction is seen in early twentieth-century descriptions.
In their last decades in the wild, the remnant population was limited to the small region between the Tahini Star Nurse and Bajtag-Bogdo mountain ridges. Attempts to obtain specimens for exhibit and captive breeding were largely unsuccessful until 1902, when 28 captured foals were brought to Europe.
These, along with a few additional captives, would be distributed among zoos and breeding centers in Europe and the United States. Many facilities failed in their attempts at captive breeding, but a few programs were established.
In addition, in at least one instance the progeny of interbreeding with a domestic horse was bred back into the captive Przewalski's horse population, though recent studies have shown only minimal genetic contribution of this domestic horse to the captive population. The situation was improved when the exchange of breeding animals among facilities increased genetic diversity and there was a consequent improvement in fertility, but the population experienced another genetic bottleneck when many of the horses failed to survive World War II.
The most valuable group, in Albania Nova, Ukraine, was shot by German soldiers during World War II occupation, and the group in the United States had died out. Only two captive populations in zoos remained, in Munich and in Prague, and of the 31 remaining horses at war's end, only 9 became ancestors of the subsequent captive population.
By the end of the 1950s, only 12 individual horses were left in the world's zoos. In 1957, a wild -caught mare captured as a foal a decade earlier was introduced into the Ukrainian captive population.
This would prove the last wild -caught horse, and with the presumed extinction of wild population, last sighted in Mongolia in the late 1960s, the captive population became the sole representatives of Przewalski's horse. Genetic diversity received a much-needed boost from this new source, the spread of her bloodline through the inbred captive groups leading to their increased reproductive success, and by 1965 there were more than 130 animals spread among thirty-two zoos and parks.
Va ska, a Przewalski's horse trained to be ridden. In 1977, the Foundation for the Preservation and Protection of the Przewalski Horse was founded in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, by Jan and Inge Bowman. The foundation started a program of exchange between captive populations in zoos throughout the world to reduce inbreeding, and later began a breeding program of its own.
By 1979, when this concerted program of population management to maximize genetic diversity was begun, there were almost four hundred horses in sixteen facilities, a number that had grown by the early 1990s to over 1,500. While dozens of zoos worldwide have Przewalski's horses in small numbers, specialized reserves are also dedicated primarily to the species.
The world's largest captive-breeding program for Przewalski's horses is at the Albania Nova preserve in Ukraine. From 1998, thirty-one horses were also released in the unenclosed Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in Ukraine and Belarus, evacuated after the Chernobyl accident, which now serves as a deserted de facto nature reserve.
Le Village, located in the Revenues National Park in southern France and run by the Association Take, is a breeding site for Przewalski's horses that was created to allow the free expression of natural Przewalski's horse behaviors. In 1993, eleven zoo-born horses were brought to Le Village.
Horses born there are adapted to life in the wild. Such a unique breeding site was necessary to produce the individuals that were reintroduced to Mongolia in 2004 and 2005.
An intensely researched population of free-ranging animals was also introduced to the Horology National Park pasta in Hungary; data on social structure, behavior, and diseases gathered from these animals are used to improve the Mongolian conservation effort. Reintroduction organized by Western European countries started in the 1990s.
In 2011, Prague Zoo started a new project, Return of the Wildfires. With the support of public and many strategic partners, these yearly transports of captive-bred horses into the Great Gobi B Strictly Protected Area continue today.
Since 2004, there is also a program to reintroduce Przewalski's horses that were bred in France into Mongolia. A cooperative venture between the Zoological Society of London and Mongolian scientists has resulted in successful reintroduction of these horses from zoos into their natural habitat in Mongolia.
In 1992, 16 horses were released into the wild in Mongolia, followed by additional animals later on. One of the areas to which they were reintroduced became Sustain Nurse National Park in 1998.
Lastly, in 2004 and 2005, 22 horses were released by the Association Take to a third reintroduction site in the buffer zone of the Khan Us Four National Park, in the northern edge of the Gobi bioregion. The population of Przewalski's horse in the Great Gobi B SPA was drastically affected, providing clear evidence of the risks associated with reintroducing small and sequestered species in unpredictable and unfamiliar environments.
As of 2011 , an estimated total of almost 400 horses existed in three free-ranging populations in the wild. Since 2011, Prague Zoo has transported 35 horses to Mongolia in eight rounds, in cooperation with partners (Czech Air Force, European Breeding Program for Przewalski's Horses, Association pour DE coeval Du Przewalski: Take, Czech Development Agency, Czech Embassy in Mongolia and others) and it plans to continue to return horses to the wild in the future.
In the framework of the project Return of the Wildfires, it sustains its activities by supporting local inhabitants. The zoo has the longest uninterrupted history of breeding Przewalski's horses in the world and keeps the studbook of this species.
In 2001, Przewalski's horses were reintroduced into the Kalamazoo Nature Reserve in Xinjiang, China. The Przewalski's Horse Reintroduction Project of China was initiated in 1985 when 11 wild horses were imported from overseas.
After more than two decades of effort, the Xinjiang Wild Horse Breeding Center has bred many the horses, 55 of which were released into the Lamely Mountain area. In 1988, six foals were born and survived, and by 2001, over 100 horses were at the center.
Several American zoos also collaborated in breeding E. f. przewalskii from 1979 to 1982. Recent advances in equine reproductive science in the United States also have potential to further preserve and expand the gene pool.
The first birth by artificial insemination occurred on 27 July 2013, at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. The somatic cell donor was a Przewalski’s horse named Kuporovic, born in the UK in 1975 and relocated three years later to the US, where he died in 1998.
Due to concerns over the loss of genetic variation in the captive Przewalski’s horse population, and in anticipation of the development of new cloning techniques, tissue from the stallion was cryopreserved at the San Diego Zoo's Frozen Zoo. Breeding of this individual in the 1980s had already substantially increased the genetic diversity of the captive population, after he was discovered to have more unique alleles than any other horse living at the time, including otherwise-lost genetic material from two of the original captive founders.
To produce the clone, frozen skin fibroblasts were thawed and grown in cell culture. An oocyte was collected from a domestic horse, its nucleus replaced by a nucleus collected from a cultured Przewalski's horse fibroblast.
The resulting embryo was induced to begin division, and was cultured until it reached the blastocyst stage, then implanted into a domestic horse surrogate mare, which carried the embryo to term and delivered a foal with the Przewalski's horse DNA of the long-deceased stallion. The cloned horse was named Kurt, after Dr. Kurt Benirschke, a geneticist who developed the idea of cryopreserving genetic material from species considered to be endangered.
His ideas led to the creation of the Frozen Zoo as a genetic library. Once the foal matures, he will be relocated to the San Diego Zoo and bred, to pass Kuporovic's genes into the larger captive Przewalski's horse population and thereby increase the genetic variation of the species.
Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). “Ancient DNA upends the horse family tree”.
^ Orlando, Ludovic; Outran, Alan K.; Libra do, Pablo; Wellesley, ESE; Albert, Viktor; Mere, Ilia; Mere, Victor; Waller, Barbara; Ludwig, Are (6 April 2018). “Ancient genomes revisit the ancestry of domestic and Przewalski's horses ".
^ “Ancient DNA rules out archeologists' best bet for horse domestication”. ^ LAU, Allison; Lei Peng; Pirogi Got; Leona Chem nick; Oliver A. Ryder; Kateryna D. Dakota (2009).
^ CAI, Data; Huawei Tang; Lu Han; Camilla F. Speller; Dong ya Y. Yang; Violin Ma; Jean'en Can; Hong AHU; Hui Zhou (2009). “Ancient DNA provides new insights into the origin of the Chinese domestic horse”.
^ Got, Pirogi; Ryder, Oliver A.; Fisher, Allison R.; Schultz, Bryant; Pond, Sergei L. Kosakovsky; Nekrutenko, Anton; Dakota, Kateryna D. (1 January 2011). “A massively parallel sequencing approach uncovers ancient origins and high genetic variability of endangered Przewalski's horses ".
^ a b c Mach ugh, David E.; Larson, Greer; Orlando, Ludovic (2016). “Taming the past: Ancient DNA and the study of animal domestication”.
^ her Parisian, C.; Termini, L.; Schubert, M.; Yang, M.A. “Evolutionary genomics and conservation of the endangered Przewalski's horse”.
CS1 main: multiple names: authors list (link) ^ Outran, A.K. ^ O A Ryder, A R Fisher, B Schultz, S Kosakovsky Pond, A Nekrutenko, K D Dakota.
“A massively parallel sequencing approach uncovers ancient origins and high genetic variability of endangered Przewalski's horses “. “Recalibrating Equus evolution using the genome sequence of an early Middle Pleistocene horse”.
History of the Przewalski horse (Equus Przewalskii) and morphological examination of seasonal changes of the hoof in Przewalski and feral horses. “Phylogeny of Horse Chromosome 5q in the Genus Equus and Centromere Repositioning”.
^ a b Huang, Jingling; Zhao, Piping; Shiraigol, Wonderful; Li, BEI; Bad, Donny; Ye, Waxing; Daidiikhuu, Dorjsuren; Yang, LIHSA; Jin, Burenqiqige; Zhao, Jinan; GAO, Mahan; Wu, Jing; Bad, Wuyundalai; Li, Anger; Zhang, Yutong; Han, Paige; Bad, Waiting; Bad, Yanking; Zhao, Lee; Thai, Zhengxiao; Zhao, Wending; Sun, Wiki; Zhang, An; Men, He; Dugarjaviin, Manila (2015). “Analysis of horse genomes provides insight into the diversification and adaptive evolution of karyotype”.
“Relationships and communication in socially natural horse herds”. The Domestic Horse: the evolution, development and management of its behavior.
“Diet of the Przewalski's horse Equus przewalskii in the Chernobyl exclusion zone” (PDF). ^ a b c d e f Kaczyski, Petra; Burned Storm, Martina; Sabin, Mikhail V.; Vogt, Christian C.; Smith, Steve; Ulaanbaatar, Oyunsaikhan; Baling, Bulgaria; Walker, Chris; Passkey, Natalia N. (2017).
“Stable isotopes reveal diet shift from predestination to reintroduced Przewalski's horses ". ^ a b Chen, Xinjiang; Went, Jiang; Chao, Die; HU, Defy; Maya, Kazuyoshi (2008).
“Reproduction and Development of the Released Przewalski's Horses (Equus przewalskii) in Xinjiang, China”. The domestic and the wild in the Mongolian horse and the take”.
Taxonomic Tapestries: The Threads of Evolutionary, Behavioral and Conservation Research. Canberra: And Press, The Australian National University.
“Genetic studies of blood markers in Przewalski's horse” (PDF). ^ a b “An extraordinary return from the brink of extinction for worlds last wild horse”.
“Endangered Przewalski's Horses Back On Russian Steppe”. “Program on establishing a semi-free population of Przewalski's horse in Oldenburg State Nature Reserve: the first successful project on the reintroduction of the species in Russia”.
“Effort Begins to Revive Endangered Przewalski Horse Population in Kazakhstan”. “Cooperative breeding program for the Mongolian wild horse Equus przewalskii in the United States”.
^ “Przewalski's Horse Foal Born via Artificial Insemination”. ^ a b c “Przewalski's Horse (Take) Project | Revive & Restore”.
^ Latina, Irina; Full, Helena; Lazaro, Giovanna; Gall, Cesar (October 2013). “Interspecies Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer: Advancements and Problems”.
Przewalski's Horse: The history and biology of an endangered species. “FC Wales turns clock back thousands of years with wild solution to looking after ancient forest site” (Media release).
“Usage of 17 specific names based on wild species which are predated by or contemporary with those based on domestic animals (Lepidoptera, Osteichthyes, Mammalian): conserved”. “Mitochondrial DNA sequences of various species of the genus Equus with special reference to the phylogenetic relationship between Przewalskii's wild horse and domestic horse”.
“Mitochondrial DNA and the origins of the domestic horse”. “Scent-marking behavior by stallions: an assessment of function in a reintroduced population of Przewalski horses (Equus ferns przewalskii)”.
Co. CS1 main: multiple names: authors list (link) Wakefield, S.; Knowles, J.; Zimmermann, W.; Van Dierendonck, M. (2002). “Financial losses puts at risk Chinese program of reintroducing Przewalski's horses ".
“Diet of the Przewalski's Horse Equus Przewalskii in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone”. Riemann, Lea; Ger ken, Martina; Rail, Alexander (2012).
“Adaptation Strategies to Seasonal Changes in Environmental Conditions of a Domesticated Horse Breed, the Shetland Pony (Equus ferns Catullus)”. Ferreira, Luis Miguel M.; Celaya, Rafael; Besides, Raquel; Aureus, Berta M.; Garcia, Casino; Sofia Santos, Ana; Rosa Garcia, Rocco; Miguel; Rodrigues, Antonio M.; Osorio, Old (2013).
“Foraging Behavior of Domestic Herbivore Species Grazing on Heath lands Associated with Improved Pasture Areas”. Occur, Molly E.; Banach, Anika L.; Petersen, Jessica L.; Guru, Jessica; Bailey, Ernie; Binds, Matthew M.; Distal, Ottoman; Turin, Gerard; Hasegawa, Elisa; Hill, Emmeline W.; Lee, Toss; Lindgren, Gabriella; Opened, M. Cecilia T.; Red, Knot H.; Ryder, Oliver A.; Swinburne, June E.; Took, Teriyaki; Val berg, Stephanie J.; Audio, Mark; Lindblad-Toh, Keratin; Wade, Claire M.; Michelson, James R.; Georges, Michel (12 January 2012).
“A High Density SNP Array for the Domestic Horse and Extant Perissodactyla: Utility for Association Mapping, Genetic Diversity, and Phylogeny Studies”. Got, Pirogi; Ryder, Oliver A.; Fisher, Allison R.; Schultz, Bryant; Pond, Sergei L. Kosakovsky; Nekrutenko, Anton; Dakota, Kateryna D. (1 January 2011).
“A massively parallel sequencing approach uncovers ancient origins and high genetic variability of endangered Przewalski's horses ". Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Libraries and National Science Foundation.
CS1 main: uses authors parameter (link) Ridgeway, William (1908). Wikimedia Commons has media related to Equus przewalskii.
Wiki species has information related to Equus ferns przewalskii But by the late 1960s, it was driven to extinction in the wild due to human persecution, grazing competition, and high mortality from harsh winters.
Over the next several decades, zoos worldwide bred them and worked with in-country partners to reintroduce the descendants back to the wild. Ultimately, the goal is to realize an expanded and stable wild horse population in their native habitat.
The exquisite Outer Banks is a fabulous place to spot Colonial Spanish Mustangs. These hearty and handsome animals have weathered hurricanes and thrived in the Outer Banks for almost half a millennium.
There are plenty of reasons to love Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and its wild horses are a serious selling point. Theodore Roosevelt National Park is the ideal place to reconnect with nature and spend time with animals that you would otherwise only see in captivity.
Arizona's Salt River is home to wild horses, thought to be the descendants of escaped or abandoned farm animals. Visit these magnificent creatures by hiking or tubing through Salt River Canyon, which is part of Tonto National Forest.
Nahuatl is teeming with wild horses, and lucky for you, this tranquil paradise has not hit the tourist map yet. It's part of the Marquesas Islands, a quiet natural Eden where people have learned how to respect and live alongside their undomesticated equine neighbors.
You can take horseback riding tours through the park, a fabulous way to see the extraordinary landscape of the Andes mountains. The Cam argue's claim to fame is a herd of alabaster horses that runs free through the region, earning it the nickname the Wild West of France.
The pastoral south of France has a lot to offer in terms of jaw-dropping terrain and is a cherished UNESCO site, but the biggest draw to the area is the horses. As this horse haven is very isolated, visitors are responsible for their own safety and advised to check weather conditions before venturing out.
Nobody knows precisely how they got to Au's, Namibia, although there are plenty of theories, including the possibility that they descended from German army horses. If you’re a nature-lover committed to planning one-of-a-kind vacations, make sure you put these equine hotspots on your bucket list.
She likes physical challenges, such as mountain climbing, and enjoys interacting with interesting people and learning to appreciate new cultures and ways of doing things. It is probably the only feral herd of horses residing in Africa, with a population ranging between 90 and 150.
Despite the harsh environment in which they live, the horses are generally in good condition, except during times of extreme drought. The origin of the Namib Desert Horse is unclear, though several theories have been put forward.
Whatever their origin, the horses eventually congregated in the Garb Plains, near Au's, Namibia, the location of a man-made water source. They were generally ignored by humans, except for the periodic threat of eradication due to the possibility that they were destroying native herbivore habitat, until the 1980s.
In 1984, the first aerial survey of the population was made, and in 1986, their traditional grazing land was incorporated into the Namib-Naukluft Park. Since the early 1990s, close records of the population have been kept, and studies have been performed to determine the horses effect on their environment.
Despite being considered an exotic species within the park, they are allowed to remain due to their ties to the country's history and draw as a tourist attraction. The Namib Desert Horses are athletic, muscular, clean-limbed, and strong boned.
Club hooves are occasionally seen in foals, likely due to trauma to the hoof while traveling long distances. Scientists studying the horses rate their body condition on a scale of one (excellent) to five (very poor), based mainly on estimated weight and muscle tone.
The condition of the horses is directly correlated to rainfall, through a correlation to available forage, though temperature, distance between forage and water and individual energy expenditures also play a role. Studies during the 1990s found no evidence of equine disease among the population and few external parasites.
Investigations of carcasses found four internal nematode parasites present (strangles, small and large pin worms and Awards), as well as the larvae of bottles. The Namib Desert Horse travels extensively, searching for food, water and shelter from the climate and insects.
A 1994 study found that they have an average home range of 13 square miles (34 km 2), although not all of that is traversed each day. This creates severe selection pressure and removes weak animals from the population.
In 1993, a second study showed that the physiological water-conservation ability did not differ between Namib Desert Horses and other populations when dehydrated for periods of up to 60 hours, but suggested that the Namib Desert Horse would show improved conservation ability when dehydration periods were extended to upwards of 72 hours, a common occurrence in their feral state. The horses, especially young foals and juveniles, provide a major food source in the southern Namib Desert for the spotted hyena, along with gearbox and springbok.
However, the availability of other food appears to have a significant influence on predation rates among the horses. The harsh environmental conditions in which they live are the main driver of mortality among the Namib Desert Horse, as they cause dehydration, malnutrition, exhaustion and lameness.
Other large plains animals, including the mountain zebra, may have once sporadically utilized the area for grazing during periods of excess rainfall, but human interference (including fencing off portions of land and hunting) have eliminated or significantly reduced the movement of these animals in the area. Despite the large domesticated breeding population from which the horses originally descended, at least one genetic bottleneck has occurred in the breed's history, resulting in a significant decline in genetic variation over a relatively short period of time.
Estimates for a necessary minimum population to maintain genetic effectiveness range between 100 and 150 animals. As the genetic similarity to Arabian-type horses is distant, they do not closely resemble them in outward appearance, although they are both of the hot-blooded type, resulting in both being athletic, lean-muscled animals.
There are several theories on the ancestors of the Namib Desert Horse, and the true story may never be known. One theory says that a cargo ship carrying Thoroughbreds to Australia wrecked near the Orange River, and the strongest horses swam ashore and traveled to the Garb Plains, the home of the Namib Desert Horse, near Au's, Namibia.
Another theory states that they descend from Cape horse /Auto pony crosses ridden by Khoikhoi raiders traveling from Southern Africa to north of the Orange River. During World War I, horses were used in campaigns in Namibia between the German Schutztruppe and South African troops, and some escaped or were released into the desert.
Prior to this time, a German Baron on Wolf built Tunisia Castle on the edge of the Namib Desert, where he held a herd of approximately 300 horses. On Wolf was killed in action in Europe during World War I, and his farm was abandoned, leaving his horses on fenced land relatively close to the area where the Namib Desert Horses now roam.
The genetic evidence of the 2001 study gave less credence to the descent from on Wolf's horses. Research in the archives of pre-1914 horse breeding operations found at Windhoek, combined with blood typing studies, suggests that the animals descended from a gene pool of high-quality riding animals, as opposed to work horses.
One possible source of breeding stock was a stud farm near Suburb, leased by Emil Kremlin (previously mayor of Luddite) from 1911 to 1919. Photo albums from the stud show animals with conformation and markings similar to those seen in the modern Namib Desert Horse.
In addition, in early 1915, during the fighting of World War I, bombs were dropped by a German aircraft onto the South African camp near Garb. Some ordnance seems to have been specifically targeted to land among a herd of 1,700 grazing horses, for the purposes of scattering them.
Horses in the area would likely have congregated at the few existing watering places in the Au's Mountains and Garb. In 1984, an aerial count was made that distinguished 168 horses, while ground-based observations in 1988 estimated between 150 and 200 animals.
The watering hole at Garb, with a shelter for human visitors in the background. In the mid-1980s, the horses habitat was made part of Namib-Naukluft Park, the largest game reserve in Africa. In 1986, after the expansion to the park, a movement was made to remove all horses (which were considered an exotic species); public outcry prevented this from happening.
In 1992, as Namibia gained its independence and a drought enveloped Southern Africa, a decision was made to reduce the population, then estimated at 276 animals. In June 104 animals were captured selectively and sold, but many did not adjust well to their new habitats and by 1997 at least half had died.
Although several attempts were originally made to exterminate the horses, due to a possible threat to onyx habitat, they are now protected by the South West Africa/Namibia Directorate of Nature Conservation. Feral Najib horses interacting closely with human visitors to the watering hole at Garb There is concern in some quarters that the horses are a negative influence on their habitat, through overgrazing and competition with native species.
The amount and species of vegetation found outside the watering area appear more affected by rainfall than by the horses, probably due to the low population density and natural rotational grazing. Due to the lack of effect on vegetation by horses, it is unlikely that they significantly influence small mammal populations.
The horses also appear to have no measurable effect on any vulnerable or endangered plant or animal species, which in several cases are more threatened by human influence. However, when their grazing grounds were made part of the game reserve, a policy of limited intervention was put in place that encouraged support to be given to the horses when necessary, bringing the horses into closer contact with humans.
This also included closer contact with tourists to Namibia, who frequently see them at the watering area at Garb and near the main road that traverses their grazing grounds. While the horses are credited with bringing tourist dollars to Namibia, there are also concerns about negative horse-human interactions, including vehicle accidents, disruption to sensitive areas by people looking for the horses and disruption of herd dynamics due to becoming too used to or dependent upon humans.
Understanding Horse Behavior: An Innovative Approach to Equine Psychology and Successful Training. “Effect of dehydration on the volumes of body fluid compartments in horses (PDF).
“Genetic Variation in the feral horses of the Namib Desert, Namibia”. Journal of the South African Veterinary Association (J S Afr Vet Assoc).
“Ghost towns and wild horses in world's oldest desert”. Credit: Sarah Richter photo A wild mare and her foal on the Caribbean island of Vie ques.
Wild horses are supposed to be in the wild west, scampering up and down mountainsides or galloping across the desert, right? They live in the Balkan nations of Eastern Europe, the south of France, and the mountains of Spain.
You’ll find the largest concentration of free-roaming horses thriving in the extreme wilderness of Australia’s Outback. One of the most unusual herds lives on the U.S. territory of Vie ques, an island off Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Sea.
Over the years, the island has become more settled and widely-known not for its high rise hotel resorts but for the peace and quiet and, yes, the horses. Their presence makes a hike to the beach an adventure, when you realize that you might frolic in the surf next to a mare and her foal.
These horses may not be very wild, given the way they have been fed by locals and tourists alike for generations. Tourists enjoy “capturing” them on film, cell phone cameras, and video, and the herds don’t seem to mind being a little famous.
Many are approachable, up to a point, and some are claimed as the fenced property of local residents, as evidenced by their brands. Researchers, animal advocates, photographers, filmmakers, and even a veterinarian are looking for hoof prints in the sand, as well.
International show jumper Georgina Bloomberg was a guest of HSS on Vie ques last weekend. While the island has plenty of wild terrain, its natural vegetation can only sustain so many horses.
Key to the HSS involvement is a program to administer the contraceptive known as Porcine zone pellucid (Pop), which has been used on many types of wildlife, including wild horse mares in the American West. “Treated mares will see increased health benefits and will lead longer and healthier lives without the stress of repeated pregnancy and lactation in an environment with few basic resources,” Nacelle wrote.
“In the long term, the competition for scarce resources will decrease as the population stabilizes and declines to sustainable levels.” According to Liz Davis, education coordinator for Assateague Island, “The Maryland herd of wild horses currently contains a large proportion of mares aged 20 to 33,” she told the website DelmarvaNow.com.
The HSS program last week, which centered on “darting” mares with the contraceptive vaccine, included a visit to the island by an equine practitioner. Mickie Vest, DVD, staff veterinarian for the Cleveland Emory Black Beauty Ranch in Texas, had the honor of being the island’s first-ever horse doc during his stay.
According to HSS, Vie ques will serve as a positive model for large-scale horse population management. They suggest that their Vie ques program can be replicated by other municipalities, as well as state, federal and tribal agencies that are actively searching for ways to manage feral horse populations.
Special guests enjoying the wild horses last weekend were celebrity supporters of HSS (and equestrians), such as Georgina Bloomberg, Stephanie Rigid Bulge and Ariana Rockefeller. Tourists and HSS staff and guests alike had an unusual opportunity to see the horses up close during the clinic.
Horse chariot -- Detail of a bronze mirror c. 5th-6th century excavated Eta-Funayama Cumulus in Japan. Horses in East Asian warfare are inextricably linked with the strategic and tactical evolution of armed conflict.
A warrior on horseback or horse-drawn chariot changed the balance of power between civilizations. When both sides had horses, battles turned on the strength and strategy of their mounted horsemen, or cavalry.
King Ruling of Zhao (340 BCE-295 BCE), after realizing the advantages of light cavalry warfare over that of the heavy and cumbersome chariots, instituted reforms generally known as “” (wearing of the Nomadic people's attire, and shooting arrows from horseback), which greatly increased the combat-effectiveness of the army of Zhao. Conservative forces opposed change, which affected the proportional balance amongst cavalrymen, horse-drawn chariots and infantrymen in Chinese armies.
The benefits of using horses as light cavalry against chariots in warfare was understood when the Chinese confronted incursions from nomadic tribes of the steppes. Feeding horses was a significant problem; and many people were driven from their land so that the Imperial horses would have adequate pastures.
Climate and fodder south of the Yangtze River were unfit for horses raised on the grasslands of the western steppes. The Chinese army lacked a sufficient number of good quality horses.
The strategic factor considered most essential in warfare was controlled exclusively by the merchant-traders of the most likely enemies. The Chinese used chariots for horse-based warfare until light cavalry forces became common during the Warring States era (402-221 BC); and speedy cavalry accounted in part for the success of the Qin dynasty (221 BCE–206 BCE).
The Chinese warhorses were cultivated from the vast herds roaming free on the grassy plains of northeastern China and the Mongolian plateau. The hardy Central Asian horses were generally short-legged with barrel chests.
Speed was not anticipated from this configuration, but strength and endurance are characteristic features. During the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), records tell of a Chinese expedition to Fernanda (in present-day Uzbekistan) and the superior horses which were acquired.
The map of Asia in 800 shows Tang China in relation to its neighbors, including the Uighur Empire of Mongolia. Horses and skilled horsemen were often in short supply in agrarian China, and cavalry were a distinct minority in most Sui dynasty (581–618) and Tang Dynasty (618–907) armies.
The Song (960–1279) through Ming dynasty (1368–1644) armies relied on an officially supervised tea-for-horse trading systems which evolved over centuries. Tea and horses were so inextricably related that officials repeatedly requested that the tea laws and the horse administration be supervised by the same man.
“ have countless horses in the service of the army, but these are so degenerate and lacking in martial spirit that they are put to rout even by the neighing of the Tartars steed, and so they are practically useless in battle.” Although records of horses in Japan are found as far back as the Common period, they played little or no role in early Japanese agriculture or military conflicts until horses from the continent were introduced in the 4th century.
The Kojak and Nixon Shoji mention horses in battle. Samurai fought as cavalry for many centuries, and horses were used both as draft animals and for war.
The increasingly elaborate decorations on harnesses and saddles of the samurai suggests the value accorded to these war horses. Amongst the samurai, Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616) was known as an excellent horseman, which forms the foundation of an anecdote about the shogun's character.
One day he and his troops had to cross a very narrow bridge over a raging river. Ieyasu dismounted, led the horse over the bridge to the other side, and then he re-mounted his steed.
At Nikki, the burial place of the horse ridden by Ieyasu Tokugawa in the Battle of Sekigahara is marked with an inscribed stone. In PRE- Meiji Japan, horses were only considered in a context of warfare and transportation of cargo.
As a general rule non-samurai and women did not ride in a saddle as this was reserved for samurai warriors, however, Tome Dozen was an exception to the general rule The appearance of women and non-samurai on horseback in Meiji period prints represented an innovative development. Since 1958, a statue of a horse at Yasukuni Shrine has acknowledged the equine contributions in Japanese military actions; and opened, full bottles of water are often left at the statues.
Other public memorials in other locations in Japan commemorate horses in Japanese warfare, e.g., the Yogi Shrine in Kyoto. This Villa horse rider pottery is among the National Treasures of Breathe Korean horse is the smallest of the East Asian breeds, but the breed is very strong with noteworthy stamina in terms of its size.
In the 12th century, Urchin tribes began to violate the Goryeo-Jurchen borders, and eventually invaded Gorge. After experiencing the invasion by the Urchin, Korean general Run Gwen realized that Gorge lacked efficient cavalry units.
He reorganized the Gorge military into a professional army that would contain decent and well-trained cavalry units. In 1107, the Urchin were ultimately defeated, and surrendered to Run Gwen.
To mark the victory, General Run built nine fortresses to the northeast of the Goryeo-Jurchen borders ( 9, ). The warhorses of the Mongols were called design Nolan.
By 1225 Genghis Khan's empire stretched from the Caspian Sea and northern China; and his horses grew to be highly prized throughout Asia. Mongolian horses were known for their hardiness, endurance and stamina.
Descendants of Genghis Khan's horses remain in great number in Mongolia. The limited pasture lands in Eastern Europe affected the westward movement of Mongolian mounted forces.
The empires of China had at various points in history engaged their nomadic neighbors in combat with reduced effectiveness in cavalry combat, and have a various time instituted reforms to meet a highly mobile adversary that fought principally on horseback; one such important reform as clearly recorded in Chinese historical text was King Ruling of Zhao (340BC-395BC), who advocated the principle of , the “wearing of HU nomadic people's clothing, and the firing of arrows from horseback” during the Spring and Autumn period, which greatly helped increase combat effectiveness against the cavalries of the nomadic combatants. Nomadic opponents at the borders of the various empires of China generally used the horse effectively in warfare, which only slowly developed into changes in the way horses were used.
The Chinese scholar Song QI (, 998-1061) explained, “The reason why our enemies to the north and west are able to withstand China is precisely because they have many horses and their men are adept at riding; this is their strength.
Traditionally, the horse has been used as a pack animal, essential in providing logistical support for military forces. Wood relief, 17th century Vietnam, showing a mounted archer with his bow fully drawn while galloping forward, in the foreground a kneeling arquebusier is taking aim.
Samurai, Warfare and the State in Early Medieval Japan, p. 96. , p. 96, at Google Books ^ Friday, p. 103. , p. 103, at Google Books ^ a b Nassau, Louis Frederic and Kate Roth. 354-355;, p. 354, at Google Books citing the Kojak and Nixon Shoji.
Annals DES emperors Du Japan, p. 119, p. 119, at Google Books ; Sadie Minamoto no Too (). Hired Swords: The Rise of Private Warrior Power in Early Japan, p. 37, p. 37, at Google Books ^ Turnbull, Stephen R. (2002).
Archived 2012-05-18 at the Payback Machine ^ Sidney Institute (NSW, Australia), Tokugawa Ieyasu ^ Chamberlain, Basil Hall. A Handbook for Travelers in Japan, p. 200. , p. 200, at Google Books ^ Niagara, Hiroshi et al. (1975).
The Tale of the Hake, p. 291. , p. 291, at Google Books ^ “About Yasukuni ShrineYasukuni Shrine”. ^ Yogi ninja: image of paired horses.
Archived 2010-01-05 at the Payback Machine (in Japanese) ^ Gilda, p. 27. , p. 27, at Google Books ^ Ezra, 120. A Traveler's History of Russia, p. 14, citing James Chambers, (1979).
ISBN 978-0-226-12047-8 ; CLC 221400450 Ezra, Patricia B., Anne Walt hall and James B. Calais. Pre-Modern East Asia to 1800: A Cultural, Social, and Political History.
ISBN 978-0-399-12179-1 ; CLC 4359157 Forbes, Andrew; Henley, David (2011). Annals DES emperors Du Japan (Nixon DAI Michigan).
Paris: Royal Asiatic Society, Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. CLC 5850691 Nguyen The DON, 2001 “Collection of LE dynasty weapons in NGC Khan”.
Undomesticated four-footed mammal from the equine family Przewalski's horse had reached the brink of extinction but was reintroduced successfully into the wild.
The Tarzan became extinct in the 19th century, though it is a possible ancestor of the domestic horse; it roamed the steppes of Eurasia at the time of domestication. However, other subspecies of Equus ferns may have existed and could have been the stock from which domesticated horses are descended.
Since the extinction of the Tarzan, attempts to have been made to reconstruct its phenotype, resulting in horse breeds such as the König and Heck horse. However, the genetic makeup and foundation bloodstock of those breeds is substantially derived from domesticated horses, so these breeds possess domesticated traits.
The term wild horse” is also used colloquially in reference to free-roaming herds of feral horses such as the mustang in the United States, the crumby in Australia, and many others. These feral horses are untamed members of the domestic horse subspecies (Equus ferns Catullus), not to be confused with the truly wild horse subspecies extant into modern times.
E. Ferus has had several subspecies, only three of which have survived into modern times: The latter two are the only never-domesticated wild groups that survived into historic times.
However, other subspecies of Equus ferns may have existed. In the Late Pleistocene epoch, there were several other subspecies of E.ferns which have all since gone extinct.
The exact categorization of Equus' remains into species or subspecies is a complex matter and the subject of ongoing work. Equus ferns fossil from 9100 BC found near Dense, at the Zoological Museum in CopenhagenProbable European wild horse coat colors The horse family Equine and the genus Equus evolved in North America during the Pliocene, before the species migrated across Bering into the Eastern Hemisphere.
Studies using ancient DNA, as well as DNA of recent individuals, suggest the presence of two equine species in Late Pleistocene North America, a cabal line species, suggested being nonspecific with the wild horse, and Haringtonhippus Francisco, the “New World stilt-legged horse”; the latter has been taxonomically assigned to various names, and appears to be outside the grouping containing all extant equines. In South America there appear to have been several species of equine, Equus (Amerhippus) Neogene, which had previously thought to represent 5 taxa due to morphological variability, and several species of Hippidion, which also lie outside the group containing all living horses.
(It had previously been suggested to have been nested within Equus based on incomplete sequence data ) Currently, three subspecies that lived during recorded human history are recognized.
One subspecies is the widespread domestic horse (Equus ferns Catullus), as well as two wild subspecies: the recently extinct Tarzan (E. f. ferns) and the endangered Przewalski's horse (E. f. przewalskii). Genetically, the pre-domestication horse, E. f. ferns, and the domesticated horse, E. f. Catullus, form a single homogeneous group (clade) and are genetically indistinguishable from each other.
The genetic variation within this clade shows only a limited regional variation, with the notable exception of Przewalski's horse. Besides genetic differences, astrological evidence from across the Eurasian wild horse range, based on cranial and metacarpal differences, indicates the presence of only two subspecies in post glacial times, the Tarzan and Przewalski's horse.
At present, the domesticated and wild horses are considered a single species, with the valid scientific name for the horse species being Equus ferns. The wild Tarzan subspecies is E. f. ferns, Przewalski's horse is E. f. przewalskii, and the domesticated horse is E. f. Catullus.
The rules for the scientific naming of animal species are determined in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, which stipulates that the oldest available valid scientific name is used to name the species. Previously, when taxonomists considered domesticated and wild horse two subspecies of the same species, the valid scientific name was Equus Catullus Linnaeus 1758, with the subspecies labeled E. c. Catullus (domesticated horse), E. c. ferns Border, 1785 (Tarzan) and E. c. przewalskii Polio, 1881 (Przewalski's horse).
However, in 2003, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature decided that the scientific names of the wild species have priority over the scientific names of domesticated species, therefore mandating the use of Equus ferns for the horse, independent of the position of the domesticated horse. Przewalski's horse occupied the eastern Eurasian Steppes, perhaps from the Urals to Mongolia, although the ancient border between Tarzan and Przewalski's distributions has not been clearly defined.
Przewalski's horse was limited to Dzungaria and western Mongolia in the same period, and became extinct in the wild during the 1960s, but was reintroduced in the late 1980s to two preserves in Mongolia. Although researchers such as Maria Gimbals theorized that the horses of the Paleolithic period were Przewalski's, more recent genetic studies indicate that Przewalski's horse is not an ancestor to modern domesticated horses.
However, it was subsequently suggested that Przewalski's horse represent feral descendants of horses belonging to the Bowie culture. Przewalski's horse is still found today, though it is an endangered species and for a time was considered extinct in the wild.
Roughly 2000 Przewalski's horses are in zoos around the world. A small breeding population has been reintroduced in Mongolia.
As of 2005, a cooperative venture between the Zoological Society of London and Mongolian scientists has resulted in a population of 248 animals in the wild. However, the offspring of Przewalski and domestic horses are fertile, possessing 65 chromosomes.
For instance, when the Spanish reintroduced the horse to the Americas, beginning in the late 15th century, some horses escaped, forming feral herds; the best-known being the mustang. Similarly, the crumby descended from horses strayed or let loose in Australia by English settlers.
Isolated populations of feral horses occur in a number of places, including Bosnia, Croatia, New Zealand, Portugal, Scotland and a number of barrier islands along the Atlantic coast of North America from Sable Island off Nova Scotia, to Cumberland Island, off the coast of Georgia. In 1995, British and French explorers discovered a new population of horses in the Roche Valley of Tibet, unknown to the rest of the world, but apparently used by the local Samba people.
It was speculated that the Roche horse might be a relict population of wild horses, but testing did not reveal genetic differences with domesticated horses, which is in line with news reports indicating that they are used as pack and riding animals by the local villagers. These horses only stand 12 hands (48 inches, 122 cm) tall and are said to resemble the images known as “horse no 2” depicted in cave paintings alongside images of Przewalski's horse.
The Przewalski Horse: Morphology, Habitat and Taxonomy. Przewalski's Horse: The History and Biology of an Endangered Species.
In Ann T. Bowling ; Anatomy Ruins (eds.). ^ a b c Colin Groves, 1986, “The taxonomy, distribution, and adaptations of recent Equips”, In Richard H. Meadow and Hans-Peter Bergmann, eds., Equips in the Ancient World, volume I, pp.
“A Geographic Assessment of the Global Scope for Rewinding with Wild -Living Horses (Equus ferns)”. ^ Kirkpatrick, Jay F.; July 2008, Patricia M. Fabio 24.
“Assessing the Causes Behind the Late Quaternary Extinction of Horses in South America Using Species Distribution Models”. ^ Orlando, Ludovic; Male, Dean; Albert, Maria Teresa; Prado, Jose Luis; Print, Alfredo; Cooper, Alan; Hanna, Catherine (2008-05-01).
“Ancient DNA Clarifies the Evolutionary History of American Late Pleistocene Equips”. ^ Usukhjargal, Dorm; Hen kens, Renew H. G.; Boer, Willem F. DE; Los, Angeles E. W. DE; Ra's, Erica; Dune, Caroline van (August 28, 2009).
^ Boules, Nicolas; van Appear, Line N. (2019). ^ Provost, Melanie; Bell one, Rebecca; Bedecked, Norbert; Sandoval-Castellanos, Edson; Paisley, Michael; Kuznets ova, Tatyana; Morales-Muñiz, Arturo; O'Connor, Terry; Weissmann, Monika; Forfeited, Michael; Ludwig, Are (15 November 2011).
“Genotypes of domestic horses match phenotypes painted in Paleolithic works of cave art”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
^ “Equus Catullus (horse)”. “Evolution, systematic, and paleogeography of Pleistocene horses in the New World: a molecular perspective”.
^ Barrón-Ortiz, Christina I.; Rodrigues, Antonia T.; Theodor, Jessica M.; Goodman, Brian P.; Yang, Dong ya Y.; Speller, Camilla F.; Orlando, Ludovic (17 August 2017). “Cheek tooth morphology and ancient mitochondrial DNA of late Pleistocene horses from the western interior of North America: Implications for the taxonomy of North American Late Pleistocene Equus”.
Stiller, M.; Woollier, M.J.; Orlando, L.; South on, J.; Free, D.G. “A new genus of horse from Pleistocene North America”.
^ Her Parisian, Clio; Airstrip, Julia T.; Schubert, Mikkel; Seguin-Orlando, Ancient; EME, David; Winston, Jacob; Albert, Maria Teresa; Martin, Fabian; Lopez, Patricio M.; Prado, Jose L.; Print, Alfredo; Douay, Christophe J.; Stafford, Tom W.; Wellesley, ESE; Orlando, Ludovic (March 2015). “Mitochondrial genomes reveal the extinct as an out group to all living equips”.
^ a b c Orlando, Ludovic; Male, Dean; Albert, Maria Teresa; Prado, Jose Luis; Print, Alfredo; Cooper, Alan; Hanna, Catherine (9 April 2008). “Ancient DNA Clarifies the Evolutionary History of American Late Pleistocene Equips”.
^ CAI, Data; Huawei Tang; Lu Han; Camilla F. Speller; Dong ya Y. Yang; Violin Ma; Jean'en Can; Hong AHU; Hui Zhou (2009). “Ancient DNA provides new insights into the origin of the Chinese domestic horse”.
^ a b Vila, Charles; Jennifer A. Leonard; Andes Götherström; Stefan Maryland; Key Sandberg; Keratin Laden; Robert K. Wayne; Hans Allergen (2001). “Widespread Origins of Domestic Horse Lineages” (PDF).
^ LAU, Allison; Lei Peng; Pirogi Got; Leona Chem nick; Oliver A. Ryder; Kateryna D. Dakota (2009). “Horse Domestication and Conservation Genetics of Przewalski's Horse Inferred from Sex Chromosomal and Autosomal Sequences”.
^ Jansen, Thomas; Forster, Peter; Levine, Marsha A.; Else, Hardy; Hurdles, Matthew; Renfrew, Colin; Weber, Jürgen; Ole, Klaus (6 August 2002). “Mitochondrial DNA and the origins of the domestic horse”.
“Quaternary Horses : possible candidates to domestication”. The Horse: its domestication, diffusion and role in past communities.
Proceedings of the XIII International Congress of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences, For, Italy, 8–14 September 1996. Equine Behavior: Principles and Practice.
^ International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (2003). “Usage of 17 specific names based on wild species which are predated by or contemporary with those based on domestic animals (Lepidoptera, Osteichthyes, Mammalian): conserved.
^ “Principles of nomenclature of zoological taxa”. System natural per Regina trial natural :second classes, or dines, genera, species, cum characterizes, differential, synonyms, Louis.
“Ecological substitutes for Wild horse and Aurochs” (PDF). ^ “The naming of wild animal species and their domestic derivatives (PDF Download Available)”.
^ Bunker, Emma C.; Watt, James C. Y.; Sun, Chitin; N.Y.), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York (2002). Nomadic Art of the Eastern Eurasian Steppes: The Eugene V. Thaw and Other New York Collections.
“Overview : Gaza : World Association of Zoos and Aquariums”. ^ Waller, B.; Bred, G.; Müller, M.; Schumann, R. (2003).
“Fixed nucleotide differences on the Y chromosome indicate clear divergence between Equus przewalskii and Equus Catullus” (PDF). ^ Lindgren, G.; Backstroke, N.; Swinburne, J.; Hellebore, L.; Einarsson, A.; Sandberg, K.; Cochran, G.; Vila, C.; Binds, M.; Allergen, H. (2004).
“Limited number of patricides in horse domestication”. ^ Gaunt, Charlene; Ages, Antoine; Half, Kristian; Albrecht, Andes; Khan, Naveen; Schubert, Mikkel; Seguin-Orlando, Ancient; Owens, Ivy J.; Fell, Sabine; Bignon-Lau, Olivier; DE Barros Damaged, Peter; Hitting, Alissa; Mohave, Azazel F.; Avoid, Hossein; Quraish, Sale; Afghan, Ahmed H.; Al-Rasheid, Khaled A. S.; Crudely, Eric; Bedecked, Norbert; Olsen, Sandra; Brown, Dorcas; Anthony, David; Mass, Ken; Titular, Vladimir; Kasparov, Alaska; Bred, Gottfried; Forfeited, Michael; Mukhtarova, Elmira; Baimukhanov, Turbo; Loughs, Semi; Omar, Vedas; Stock hammer, Philipp W.; Krause, Johannes; Bold, Bazartseren; Undrakhbold, Saintlier; Erdenebaatar, Diimaajav; Lopez, Sébastien; Masseur, Marian; Ludwig, Are; Waller, Barbara; Mere, Victor; Mere, Ilia; Albert, Viktor; Wellesley, ESE; Libra do, Pablo; Outran, Alan K.; Orlando, Ludovic (6 April 2018).
“Ancient genomes revisit the ancestry of domestic and Przewalski's horses ". “The Remarkable Comeback of Przewalski's Horse”.
^ “Endangered Przewalski's Horses Back On Russian Steppe”. ^ “An extraordinary return from the brink of extinction for worlds last wild horse” Archived 2006-07-22 at the Payback Machine ZSL Living Conservation, December 19, 2005.
“Ecological and human dimensions of management of feral horses in Australia: A review” (PDF). In Donner, Janet Forward (ed.).
), Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, ISBN 0-8018-5789-9, LCC 98023686 The holy animal of Mongolia is big-headed and stocky, like a pudgy foal that overgrew in odd places.
Its body is the color of a stirred cappuccino, but the legs are dark, as if dressed in stockings. The babies are often pale gray, and woolly like lambs, and while any sensible human would immediately want to pet one, if not outright hug it, wolves see lunch.
Not so long ago, the species, once prolific on the Central Asia steppe, was one cruel winter, one hungry wolf pack, one outbreak of disease away from extinction. This animal is generally known as “Przewalski’s horse” (pronounced shuh-VAL-skee), or “P-horse,” for short, but Mongolians call it take, which means spirit, or worthy of worship.
It seemed astonishing to me that such a wild thing lived so close to a city of 1.4 million people. We turned off-road for the last ten miles, jouncing along on rutted dirt, pluming reddish dust.
The trail bypassed nubby sand dunes and fields of wheat and rape, whose oil is popular on the Chinese market. The government now allows private farms in the area despite conservationists’ concerns that such a close juxtaposition of cultivated crops and a fledgling species will unbalance the ecosystem.
Mongolia’s three “manly” sports are wrestling, archery and, you guessed it, horse racing. At Adam, the national summer festival that takes place every July, jockeys douse their horses hindquarters with good-luck mare’s milk and then run them for as much as 16 miles.
That afternoon at Hastie, we loaded into a park vehicle and went searching for them, following the rocky roads deep into the preserve. The park’s director, Dashpurev Tserendeleg, who goes by “Dash,” drove as SKU panned the hills with binoculars.
SKU mentioned three species of eagle that lived in the park, and pointed out a falcon hunting grasshoppers from atop a utility wire. Dash stopped at an object that one rarely sees in the middle of nowhere: a blue-and-white parking sign marked “P.” A grassy rectangle sectioned off by field stones, the parking lot denoted a wildlife viewing area, where SKU hoped the take would appear.
To the naked eye the hills seemed occupied with nothing but rocks and stands of trees, some stones so beautifully formed they almost appeared arranged. P- horses, known to Mongolians as take, wander in Mongolia’s Hastie National Park, 60 miles west of the capital, Ulaanbaatar.
Before they became extinct in the wild, P- horses were found in eastern Kazakhstan, western Mongolia, and northern China. According to a 1988 study by Smithsonian’s National Zoo, P- horses spent nearly half of their time grazing, often at night.
The first written references to take appeared in the year 900, when a Tibetan monk named Bogota mentioned the horses in his writings. In the 15th century, the German writer Johann Schiltberger, who happened to see the horse in Mongolia while a prisoner of the Turks, wrote about the take in his journal.
The credit for the horse’s discovery went to Nikolai Przewalski, a 19th-century geographer and explorer serving as a Russian Army officer. In 1878, Przewalski, while returning from an expedition to Central Asia, received the gift of a horse’s skull and hide from a dignitary.
The remains were examined in St. Petersburg, at the Zoological Museum of the Russian Academy of Science, whose conservator concluded that it was a wild horse, and officially named it Equus przewalskii. Przewalski tried hunting take, but “like a windstorm they fled and disappeared,” Inge and Jan Bowman wrote in Przewalski’s Horse: The History and Biology of an Endangered Species, a book edited by Lee Boyd and Katherine A. Out.
They seemed to keep to the saline steppes and were able to survive a long time without water.” Zoologists and exotic-animal lovers became interested in capturing the horses, but found them very difficult to hunt. At the time, a successful German animal merchant named Carl Heisenberg was busy collecting every kind of live creature he could find.
Before long he acquired take and sold them to zoos in London, Cincinnati, Paris, Amsterdam, Hamburg and New York. Conservation groups began organizing to save the subspecies and, by 1965, there were 134 horses living in 32 zoos and private parks.
In the meantime, deadly winters killed thousands of horses, and overgrazed pastures left others starved. It took another 20 years for conservation and breeding programs to become effective and for the horse to show signs that it might survive.
“Today we deplore the death of so many wild Przewalski’s horses at the turn of the century during attempts to catch and transport foals, but...had those captures not taken place, the species almost certainly would be extinct,” the book by Boyd and Out noted, adding, “The example of Przewalski’s horse conservation shows us that extinction events may be difficult to predict and how important it is to have a captive population to draw upon should reintroduction become necessary.” The 1990s was a good time to reintroduce the horse to its natural habitat, as Mongolia transitioned to democracy.
Shifting politics had allowed for projects that would not have been possible under socialism, my guide, Carlton Dashdoorov, a co-founder of Mongolia Quest, a natural and cultural heritage company, had told me during the drive to Hastie. Today P- horses roam reintroduction sites in Mongolia and China, along with areas in Russia and Kazakhstan.
(Guilbert Gates) There are three take reintroduction sites in Mongolia, and during my visit to the country, Claudia Few, one of the world’s leading experts on the horse, was at one of those sites, in the extreme western region of Nominal, a two-hour flight and then a six-hour drive from the capital, Ulaanbaatar. A Swiss behavioral ecologist who specializes in equines, Few became obsessed with wild horses at age 19, after seeing the 17,000-year-old cave paintings of Lascaux, France.
About ten years later, she reintroduced the take in family groups to Nominal, near Khan Us Four National Park, a six-hour drive from the nearest decent airport. When her first horses were flown there, Few and her team rode with them in the cargo hold, feeding them apples and hay and telling them stories to keep them calm.
A crowd had gathered, some having ridden their own horses for hundreds of miles to see the take again or for the first time. A park ranger named Sanjmyatav Tsendeekhuu once saw a similar release at Hastie.
He is a big, tall, baby-faced guy of 45, and when I met him at Hastie he had on a baggy green uniform, a cap, combat boots and a badge. He had just returned from a training program at a Minnesota zoo, where he’d learned how to capture wild animals without hurting them.
Whereas Tsendeekhuu once patrolled on horseback, he now rides a motorbike and carries a sidearm that fires rubber bullets, in case he encounters hostile poachers of marmot. He started working at Hastie in 1994, and was there on a day when a take shipment arrived by cargo plane.
The horses ventilated crates were set in a row in a field, and Tsendeekhuu took a position at one of the gates. Few’s peers credit her with being one of the first to raise awareness among Mongolians about the importance of protecting the take.
She explains that the driving impulse behind the conservation efforts was the realization that an entire species could be saved. Just before we went out looking for take he stood on a small platform, before a projector screen, in jeans and loafers, a striped shirt, and round glasses.
The park is set among the lower spurs of the Chennai Mountains, marked by a blue iron gate. Tourists stay in three dozen gets with short, brightly colored doors; in the summer, they can be seen in sandals and shorts and cargo pants hanging their wet laundry in the sun, or walking up to the dining hall, in a brown-brick building of offices and bathrooms.
Speaking to the British birders, SKU explained that Hastie has brought in the most take of the world’s seven reintroduction sites: The park holds over 350 horses and intends to expand the population. He clicked through slides showing charts and images of the take, explaining that some reintroduction had succeeded while others had not.
In the Hastie dining hall, where tourists graze on Western foods and Mongolian milk tea, a mural shows P- horses munching on local grasses. I had been anticipating the horses so deeply that I’d imagined experiencing an overpowering sense of wonder or awe, but what one feels upon seeing an animal that has survived near decimation is gratitude, for having witnessed it at all.
It wasn’t hard to understand why people like SKU or Few had dedicated themselves to saving take. He found a herd of red deer and gave the sight to Dash, who peered into it and said, “Easily over 50!” The British birders came along then in a galumphing tour bus, and stopped in the parking lot.
The horses watered in the cooler hours, early in the morning and at dark, he explained. If you see it from the wolf’s side, he must eat that baby.” He added, “The wolves and the horses, they raise armies against each other.
At the park’s former field station, a two-story building as blue as the Mongolian sky, two students were bathing from a well. Dash pointed out the SUD flower, whose raspberry-color blossom his grandmother used to boil for him as tea, for stomachaches.
The whole busload had taken positions facing the bird and were watching it together in complete silence, as if sitting in a small theater, transfixed by a show. In Mongolia, the hills have a way of looking near when they are far, and only when a large enough creature begins to move across the landscape does the distance clarify itself.
In the majestic Mongolian landscape, where the vast grasslands meet the endless dunes, herds of horses rove. Neither tethered nor constrained by fencing, they run and graze on the arid, windswept steppes.
When the Russian explorer Nikolai Przewalski visited China at the end of the 19th century, he was presented with the skull and hide from a horse shot on the Chinese-Russian border. Unlike domestic horses, their mane is short and stands upward, like a Mohawk.
Orlando's team sequenced the genomes of 11 living Przewalski's horses, representing all the founding lineages, and five historical specimens dating from 1878 to 1929. In the late 18th century, herds of Przewalski's horses ranged from the Russian Steppes east to Kazakhstan, Mongolia and northern China.
But their numbers declined rapidly over the next few decades, due to a combination of hunting, harsh winters and increasing land use by humans. Scientists saw the last wild Przewalski's horse in 1969, in Mongolia's Dzungaria Gobi Desert.
As a result, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed the Przewalski's horse as extinct in the wild “. With the survival of the species assured, scientists turned their attention toward returning them to freedom.
In 1994, they tried two reintroduction: in the Taken Tail Nature Reserve in the Dzungaria Gobi Desert and at Hastie National Park in Mongolia. More recently, the horses have been reintroduced to other regions of Mongolia as well as Kazakhstan, Russia, Hungary and China.
As a teenager, she was inspired by seeing 17,000-year-old paintings along the walls of the Lascaux Caves in south-west France, in which Przewalski's horse look-a-likes prance and bound amid a throng of cattle, bison, stags and bears. Struck by the freedom and abundance of ancient European wildlife, Few began studying semi- wild horses.
“I wasn't just impressed with the beauty of the horses, but all the other animals that existed at the same time in our world that have now disappeared,” she says. In 1992, she established Take, an organization dedicated to returning Przewalski's horses to the wild and allowing them to flourish independently.
Having studied the horses behavior, Few believed that their ability to form cohesive family groups that stayed together would be critical to their survival. So instead of taking horses directly from captivity to Mongolia, she spent a decade raising them on a 400-hectare tract of land on the remote Cause Median plateau in southern France.
“It is quite a harsh environment there, and I look on it as a sort of training camp because they learned how to survive,” Few says. In 1996, she settled on the remote region of Khomeini Tail, a 2,500 sq km tract of land in western Mongolia.
In preparation for the horses arrival, Take built a fence around a 135 sq km release site to allow the vegetation to grow. They also negotiated with local herders, to ensure they would keep their domestic horses out of the reintroduction site.
In 2004, after ten years of preparation, Take reintroduced four groups of horses to Khomeini Tail. Upon arrival, the horses formed their family groups and successfully kept wolves at bay.
In 2009, Mongolia experienced a brutal winter or “mud”, in which temperatures dropped as low as -47 °C. Despite the efforts of the scientists and local herders, more than half the Przewalski's horses in Taken Tail perished, due to cold and lack of food.
When the first foals were bought over to zoos in the 19th century, they were accompanied by domestic Mongolian mares that provided milk. Along with other genetic tests, this shows that the two populations have been interbreeding, even after humans domesticated the horse about 5,500 years ago.
The other big problem for Przewalski's horses is that the current population derives solely from 12 individuals. The risk is that the horses have had to mate with close relatives, which would mean they each carried multiple copies of harmful genes and thus became more prone to genetic illnesses.
Few's goal for Mongolia is to reach three populations of 1500 horses, enough to be robust. Already, the reintroduction have been successful enough for the IUCN to reclassify the horses from “extinct in the wild to endangered “.
With their long history of caring for horses and deep knowledge of their landscape, it seems likely they will prove to be the best possible carers.