The Minnesota Zoo has welcomed the birth of two Przewalski’s horse foals who are making their public debut.
The first foal, a filly, was born on July 17; the second, a colt, was born on July 20.
Each weighed about 60 pounds at birth and can now be seen on exhibit with their mothers on the Northern Trail, across from the zoo’s seasonal Africa! exhibit.
In the 1960s, Przewalski’s horses, also known as takhi, disappeared entirely from the wild.
Since then, efforts have been under way to preserve habitat and reintroduce animals from zoos to protected lands – efforts that include the Minnesota Zoo, which is playing a key role.
More than 40 foals have been born at the zoo since it opened in 1978, many of whom have found homes at other zoos.
One stallion went to a semi-preserve in the Netherlands to produce offspring for release in Mongolia. At last count, there were 82 descendants of the zoo’s stallion still alive in Hustai Nuruu National Park.
Minnesota Zoo staff also manage the Species Survival Plan to coordinate breeding and transfer recommendations for the 23 institutions in North America that exhibit Asian wild horses.
Due to these recent reintroduction projects and protection efforts, the horse’s status has been upgraded from Critically Endangered to Endangered by the International Union of Conservation and Nature (IUCN).
Though still rare, the takhi is now returning from the brink of extinction.