Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Przewalkski's horse brought back home to Russia's wild grasslands

The species is being reintroduced to their original habitat after 20 years of extinction in the wild

Nadia Beard Moscow 
Monday 7 March 2016

In the vast swathes of Russia’s steppe near the border with Kazakhstan, six light-brown horses traipse the snow-covered fields as a security unit watches over them, providing protection from poachers and intruders. With spiky manes and a stocky build, they are Przewalski’s horses, the species being reintroduced to their original habitat after 20 years of extinction in the wild.

First born in the south of France before travelling by plane to Russia’s Orenburg nature reserves, the six are all that remains of the original 10 expected to make the flight across Europe to their new home. Four of the horses refused “flat out”, said Rafilya Bakirova, director of the reserve that hosts the Orenburg programme, Russia’s flagship reintroduction project for the species. Their wild nature was understood immediately, she says, after the four stubborn horses began to fight so fiercely that serious damage to their health was feared. 


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