The highest award for Prague Zoo. WAZA honoured its many years of helping save the Przewalski's horse


12. 10. 2021

As of today, Prague Zoo is the holder of the highest award from the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the WAZA Conservation Award. It received it for the Return of the Wild Horses project and for its long-standing contribution to the efforts to conserve the Przewalski's horse. This is only the sixth time that the world’s greatest accolade for zoos has been awarded.

Historically, this is only the sixth time that the world's greatest accolade for zoos has been awarded. The WAZA Conservation Award went to Zoo Prague for its Return of the Wild Horses project. Photo: Petr Hamerník, Prague Zoo Historically, this is only the sixth time that the world's greatest accolade for zoos has been awarded. The WAZA Conservation Award went to Zoo Prague for its Return of the Wild Horses project. Photo: Petr Hamerník, Prague Zoo

“The WAZA Conservation Award is an event that goes beyond the world of zoological gardens and is not only relevant for Prague. What’s more, nothing will make me happier than if it helps, even in a small way, to raise awareness about the desperate need for biodiversity conservation,” said Miroslav Bobek, Prague Zoo’s director, describing his first impressions at receiving the award. “The list of those that have received the WAZA Conservation Award has now grown to include Prague Zoo and The Return of the Wild Horses. This name is usually associated with the activities of the last decade, especially transporting the Przewalski's horses to Mongolia, however, there can be no doubt that the reason the highest accolade is now in Prague, is because it also takes into account all the endeavours our zoo has put into saving the Przewalski's horse, i.e. efforts that run through almost our entire ninety-year history.”

Prague Zoo received the highest accolade, the WAZA Conservation Award, for its long-standing contribution to saving the Przewalski's horse. Thirty-four horses have already been flown to Mongolia by Czech transports. Pictured: Miroslav Bobek, Director of Prague Zoo with the award. Author: Monika Dolejšová, Prague Zoo

The Przewalski's horse is the last surviving species of wild horses. Prague Zoo has been breeding Przewalski's horses since it first opened and has kept the International studbook since 1959. In cooperation with the Army of the Czech Republic and International Takhi Group, Prague Zoo has managed to transport thirty-four Przewalski's horses to Mongolia during nine air transports, thus contributing to the protection of the species and the restoration of free living populations in their original habitat.

At the same time, Prague Zoo has given significant support to running and further developing the Great Gobi B Strictly Protected Area, where most of its transports have been directed, and where the number of Przewalski's horses has now gone beyond three hundred and fifty.

“My thanks and gratitude must go not only to the current staff of Prague Zoo, but also to the many generations of their predecessors. Our founder, the City of Prague, which has fully grasped the idea that protecting biodiversity is the most important task of modern zoos, deserves equal thanks as well. Nor can I forget our many partners and collaborators, both here in the Czech Republic and around the world. And, last but not least, we must also thank all the visitors and supporters of our zoo,” added Prague Zoo’s director.

Prague Zoo has already organised nine transports of Przewalski's horses to the Great Gobi B Strictly Protected Area in Mongolia, all in cooperation with the Czech Army. There are now over three hundred and fifty of this the last wild horse species back in its natural habitat. Photo: Václav Šilha, Prague Zoo

The WAZA Conservation Award recognises WAZA member organisations for their outstanding contribution to biodiversity conservation. The nomination has very strict criteria – institutions must have very high quality and comprehensive conservation programmes with clearly stated objectives and outstanding results. They must fully meet WAZA standards and at the same time demonstrate significant activity in in situ and ex situ conservation, and, of course, pay heed to the animals’ welfare, their conservation, environmental sustainability and education. Past recipients of the WAZA Conservation Award include the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta (2020), Zürich Zoo (2019), Taronga Zoo (2018), Monterey Bay Aquarium (2017) and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (2016).

How to donate

• You can support Prague Zoo’s conservation projects by sending any amount to our collection account We Help Them Survive, account number 43–680 466 0247/0100, IBAN: CZ24 0100 0000 4368 0466 0247, SWIFT code: KOMBCZPPXXX.
• You can also support endangered species by purchasing certain souvenirs and printed materials at Prague Zoo’s gift shops or in our e-shop.
• You can even help by simply visiting the zoo. From every entry you make, we obtain CZK 5 for our collection accounts, this is used to finance projects to protect endangered species.
• Another option is to send a donation SMS – DMS – to 87 777, either as a one-off payment of CZK 30, 60 or 90 (you will contribute CZK 29, 59 or 89 to the project), or you can use the standing order option (every month the amount you choose will be automatically sent to the Prague Zoo account), for any of the amounts mentioned above. To cancel the standing order, send an SMS with the text STOP ZOO PRAHA or STOP OHROZENEDRUHY to 87 777.
• You can also use the special payment kiosks dotted around Prague Zoo’s grounds – touch screens with an integrated payment function. There are five of them and you can choose which of the four species (Przewalski's horse, western lowland gorilla, the gharial or Kha-nyou) you would like to help.