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Saturday, 25 September 2010

Przewalski´s Horses - The Most Primitive Of Living Horses

The rare Przewalski´s horse (also known as the Asian Wild Horse or the Mongolian Wild Horse) is the only truly wild relative of domestic horses and probably the most primitive of modern members of the horse family. It is smaller than most domesticated horses (standing about 122 to 142 centimeters at the shoulder and weighing about 200 to 340 kilograms). Some other differences are that it has a heavier head, an erect mane and a tail which almost reaches the ground.

Mares reach sexual maturity at about two years of age but generally do not breed until they are three years old. Mares give birth to single foals, which are born after an 11 to 12 month gestation period. The foals are usually up and moving with the group approximately 30 minutes after birth. In captivity, Przewalski´s horses lives to about 30 years of age.

Przewalski´s horses once freely roamed the steppe along the Mongolia-China borders in great numbers, living in small herds. But, at one time, they became extinct in the wild. These horses have ever since been kept and bred in captivity and have recently been reintroduced to its native habitat in Mongolia at several sites such as the Khustain Nuruu National Park, Takhin Tal Nature Reserve and Khomiin Tal. Nevertheless, on the IUCN Red List, they were reclassified from "extinct in the wild" to "critically endangered" after a reassessment in 2008.

Image and Info: National Geographic

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