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Restoring wild species

April 22, 2014

Half a century ago, a European zoo ensured the survival of the Przewalski’s horse, native to Mongolia, by breeding the creatures in captivity. But reintroducing them into the wild remains a huge challenge.

Mongolei Wildpferde
Image: AP

Saving wild horses

The world’s only truly wild horse, know as the Przewalski’s horse, was once on the brink of extinction. The species only survived because a few animals were brought to a zoo. Targeted breeding and coordinated efforts with other zoos resulted in their numbers growing. Now, the animals have been reintroduced into their orginal habitats after nearly 50 years since they first disappeared from the wild. During that time, researchers managed to study the horse thoroughly and are familiar with its bio-rhythm and its eating habits. Scientists now also know which factors are crucial to the former zoo animal’s survival in the wild.

A film by Maria Lesser