World’s last wild horse species returned to native habitat and saved from extinction

World’s last wild horse species returned to native habitat and saved from extinction

By Ashmeeta Subra  July 5th, 2024

Przewalski’s horses have been reintroduced to Kazakhstan after a 200-year absence, saving the species from extinction and restoring them to their original home.


The endangered Przewalski’s horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) is the last wild horse species on Earth, the only living horse that is not a descendant of domesticated horses. These horses once roamed the vast steppe grasslands of central Asia but were driven close to extinction in the 1960s by human activities such as hunting and habitat fragmentation. 

The seven reintroduced horses, including four mares from Berlin, a stallion, and two other mares from Prague, were flown to Kazakhstan on a Czech Air Force aircraft from Prague Zoo. There were originally eight horses scheduled for the journey, but one was returned to the zoo after experiencing dizziness before the flight.   

Prague Zoo has been working for the last 15 years to reintroduce the species back into central Asia. The reintroduction project is a collaboration between the Kazakh government’s Forestry and Wildlife Committee, Prague Zoo, Tierpark Berlin Zoo, Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan. 

According to Filip Mašek, Prague Zoo’s spokesperson, returning the horses to central Asia would help increase biodiversity in the region.   

“The horses spread seeds in their dung and when they dig up plants, they help the water get down into the soil. They also fertilise the steppe with their dung,” Mašek said in a press release. 

Prague Zoo’s director, Miroslav Bobek, said that the horses’ arrival was “almost a miracle,” considering the short preparation time and the unexpected floods that occurred in central Kazakhstan. He remarked that was the beginning of a new chapter in the conservation of the last wild horse species on the planet. 

In 2011, Prague Zoo also facilitated the reintroduction of Przewalski’s horses to Mongolia, a project that contributed to the population stablising by 2019. Currently, there are about 1,500 of the wild horses in Mongolia. Over the next five years, the plan is to transport 40 of them to central Kazakhstan to support reintroduction efforts there. 

Through continued efforts and international cooperation, the species reintroduction project promises a hopeful future for Przewalski’s horses and the biodiversity of the Kazakhstan steppes. 

Image credits to Prague Zoo.

Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


Ashmeeta Subra

With background in international relations and marketing communications, Ashmeeta is excited to use her skills to encourage positive environmental actions through Planet Ark. She believes that by taking small actions, we can help make a big difference and be good stewards of our planet. Outside of work, she loves spending time in nature and enjoying downtime at the beach.

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