The Przewalski’s horse is an example of a successful conservation effort. One that bears Prague Zoo’s signature


02. 10. 2020

Decades of ongoing efforts to save the Przewalski’s horse and return it to the wild, efforts in which Prague Zoo has played a key role, are gradually coming to fruition. This was confirmed by an analysis recently published in the journal Conservation Letters. The authors of the analysis posed the question ‘How many species of birds and mammals have been saved from extinction thanks to nature conservation?’. The answer is maybe as many as 48 – and the Przewalski’s horse is cited as a successful example of these conservation efforts! The last wild horse is thus, notionally, moving from the red to the green list.

Photo: Miroslav Bobek, Prague Zoo Photo: Miroslav Bobek, Prague Zoo

“The success of our cooperation has also been confirmed by the latest news from Mongolia,” said Miroslav Bobek, the director of Prague Zoo. “In the Strictly Protected Area of Gobi B, where most of our ‘Czech’ transports went to, the number of Przewalski's horses has already exceeded three hundred. This year alone, fifty-ninefoals have been born in Gobi B and three of the mares we transported – Anežka, Xara and Greta – are now grandmothers. This is against a background of just fifty-six horses in all when we started our air transports.”

Visitors to Prague Zoo can now admire The Beauty of Wild Horses, a photo exhibition in a yurt at the top cable car station showing the horses in the steppes and semi-deserts that form their homeland in Central Asia.

“For me, watching Przewalski's horses in the wild has always been associated with joy and a feeling of huge gratification,” says Miroslav Bobek. “Hopefully we have captured this in the photographs taken by a number of authors during our Return of the Wild Horses project.”

Not only did Prague Zoo play a significant role in the conservation of Przewalski’s horse, as well as keeping its international studbook, but, in cooperation with the Czech Army, it has also carried out nine air transports that have taken Przewalski’s horses, 33 mares and one stallion to be precise, to western Mongolia.

“Our jubilee tenth transport planned for June this year had to be postponed, for obvious reasons,” stated Miroslav Bobek. “I hope we manage to do it next year. At the same time, however, it is necessary to look further ahead. The population of Przewalski’s horses in Gobi B is large enough now, and we are starting to prepare a project that, over time, should return Przewalski’s horses to another part of Mongolia – this time in the east.”

Photo: Khalil Baalbaki, Prague ZooPhoto: Khalil Baalbaki, Prague Zoo