A Przewalski’s horse colt foal has been born at Denver Zoo, in only the second birth of this species at the zoo in more than 20 years.
The colt, who was born on Thursday, is already on show to the public.
Native to Mongolia, the Przewalski’s Horse was declared extinct in the wild in the 1970s. Through one of the most successful co-operative breeding programmes ever run, the species was successfully bred in captivity and protected.
Starting in the 1990s, nearly 400 horses from these managed populations were reintroduced to their native habitat in China and Mongolia.
The Przewalski’s horse is considered the last wild horse on the planet, although it is often mistaken for a breed of domestic horse, the Norwegian Fjord. Little is known about wild equids despite the extensive knowledge of domestic horses, Equus caballus.
After positive reintroductions to the wild the horses were classed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered, before their status was revised to endangered in 2011.
Today, about 1500 Przewalski’s horses reside at zoological institutions worldwide, carrying genes from only 14 original animals.
Due to hunting, harsh climate, loss of habitat and loss of water sources, fewer than 500 of this species are left in the wild.
Currently, most live in Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan.