Genudsat i naturen

Reintroduced to the wild

Przewalski's horse almost went extinct, but a strong cooperation between zoos saved it.

Up until the end of the 19th century, Przewalski’s horses lived on the Russian plains eastward towards Kazahkstan, Mongolia and northern China. But due to hunting, harsh winters and vanishing habitats, the numbers of Przewalski’s horses began to fall drastically. The last wild Przewalski’s horse was seen on the plains of Mongolia in 1969, and the species was declared extinct in the wild.

Zoos came to the rescue

When the Przewalski’s horse became extinct in the wild, there was still a small population in a number of zoos. Therefore, a worldwide breeding program was initiated to ensure that the species did not become extinct completely. All of the Przewalski’s horses that live today, therefore, stem from only 12 wild-caught individuals.

Today, there are approximately 2,000 individuals worldwide, and this has only been possible because zoos around the world have worked closely together.

Reintroduced to the wild

After the zoos and a few breeding centers had significantly increased the number of Przewalski horses, it was possible to start releasing them in the wild.

In 1992, 16 Przewalski horses were released on the plains of Mongolia. Today, 400 wild Przewalski horses live in the wild. This is partly due to the fact that horses are continually released from the breeding program and that the released horses now are breeding in the wild. The result is that the status of the species has been changed from “extinct in nature” to “threatened”.

Scandinavian Wildlife Park also participates

We also participate in the international breeding program, and it is intended that foals born here in the park, later could be released into the wild. As with all breeding Programs in the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), there is a studbook coordinator for Przewalski’s horse. It is this person who finds the stallions and mares that are genetically matched.

Meet Philip

The studbook coordinator found a stallion for us in Germany in 2019, which arrived in February. He vill be the father of the coming foals here in the park. We have chosen to call him Philip and he has already settled in well in his little harem.