Przewalski’s Horses at Monarto Zoo
Most people have probably never heard of the Przewalski’s Horse – unless they have taken a tour at the Monarto open range zoo near Adelaide. A few days ago I shared a few photos of the endearing meerkats at this zoo and today it is the turn of the horses.
Monarto Zoo is a part of the Adelaide Zoo and is my home zoo, being only a ten minute drive from my home in Murray Bridge. I am a life member so I can go visit for free any time, so we try to get there several times a year. This most recent visit was with friends on the occasion of my wife’s birthday.
The Przewalski’s Horse is critically endangered in the wild. At one point it was classified as extinct in the wild, but successful breeding programmes, especially here at Monarto, have seen the re-introduction of the species in its natural habitat. It was this successful programme which convinced me to become a life member of the zoo, even though I am not a particularly great horse lover.
It is the world’s only remaining wild horse and is native to Mongolia, Kazakhstan and the Gobi Desert. They’re smaller than domestic horses, with stocky bodies, large heads and a thick upright mane.
Monarto Zoo now has about 20 of these horses, having exported a small group to Mongolia twenty years ago.
In 1995, Monarto Zoo participated in a program which saw seven horses successfully reintroduced to Takhi Tal Nature Reserve in Mongolia, leading to the species forming functional breeding herds in its native habitat. As a result, in 2008 their status was downgraded from extinct to critically endangered.
You can read more about this beautiful animal on the zoo website here.