Four new arrivals at Marwell to ensure survival of horse species

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Przewalski's horses
Photo: Paul Webber

Marwell Zoo has welcomed four new additions to its endangered Przewalski’s horse herd.

The four females will help to secure the future of the previously extinct in the wild species. 

The youngsters can be seen grazing and playing together under the watchful gaze of their mothers.

Erin Luter, Animal Keeper, Hoofstock, said: “All of the foals are doing well and can often be seen laying or sunbathing in the valley field close by the rest of the herd.

“The first foal was born to mother, Lena, on May 3rd. She’s named Xaela which means mystical or fierce in Mongolian.

“The second foal was born to mother, Tsetseg, on May 11th and is named Shara after a mountain in Mongolia.”

The younger two foals were born just one day apart with Bilüü arriving to mother Tuya on June 12th and Ereen born to Speranza on June 13th. Their names are both cities in Mongolia.

Erin continued: “These horses, that were previously listed “Extinct in the Wild”, are an example of how zoo breeding programmes can help restore threatened species around the world.”

Przewalski’s horses, which come from China and Mongolia, are the last surviving sub-species of truly wild horse in the world.

All four foals will play an important role in ensuring the ex-situ conservation of their species for future generations.

Przewalski’s horses were Extinct in the Wild for almost 40 years between 1969 and 2008 due to hunting, cultural and political changes, climate change and military activities.

Erin continued: “Thanks to breeding programmes like ours at Marwell they can now be found in reintroduction sites in Mongolia and China and have been downlisted to Endangered.”

Current estimates suggest there are 178 mature individuals living in the wild and the population is increasing.

In the wild they live in groups of between six and 17 animals with a stallion, mares, foals and young up to around two years of age. All the Przewalski’s horses alive today are descended from just twelve individuals.

The foals can be found with the rest of Marwell’s Przewalski’s horses in the Valley Field, which is opposite Café Graze. For more information and to book tickets visit www.marwell.org.uk.

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