All now existing breeds of horses went from the same ancestors. Long ago, there were several species of wild horses, which were tamed by man, they interbred with each other, to get stronger, more enduring or faster species. Przhevalsky's horse is one of the species of those wild descendants of modern horses. Given that this is the only preserved wild species, it is also the only one not tamed by man.
How was the view open?
Przewalski's horse has very deep roots. Her ancestor was tarpan - "forefather" of all existing breeds. Wild horse in 1879 during an expedition to Tibet, discovered by a naturalist and traveler - Nikolai Mikhailovich Przhevalsky and described in his journal. Later the name of the breed was given by the name of the discoverer.
Steppe tarpan ancestor of the Przhevalsky Horse
This Mongolian breed was already on the verge of extinction, so its description marked the beginning of the salvation of the species. A little later, it was entered into the International Red Book as one of the few and endangered species.
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From the moment when the breed was discovered, its numbers dropped dramatically, and by 1970 there were practically no individuals left. That is why it was decided by artificial method to restore the population. To this end, in Mongolia, several individuals were caught, they were placed in a special conservation zone, where work was done to increase the number of individuals, and by 1992 this event had grown to nearby countries, including Russia, China and Kazakhstan.
Natural habitat of the Przhevalsky Horse
Of course, this could not but affect the health of horses. Numerous closely related crosses, as well as unwitting life, made the Przhevalsky's horse shy and slightly undermined the immune system. However, today the breed lives successfully in the wild.
After increasing the number, three herds were formed and released into the wild. The total number of individuals in the world reaches 2500, although the figures are updated annually, as these herds are controlled by breeders of Mongolia, Kazakhstan, China, Tajikistan and Russia. Now representatives of the species in the wild can be found on the territory of these countries in semi-desert regions.
What does Przewalski's horse look like?
The ancestor of the Przewalski horse was tarpan and kulan. The first is the ancestor of a modern horse, the second is a wild donkey with many characteristics similar to a horse. It was from these two ancestors that the Przhevalsky horse received external features and character.
Characteristics of the Przhevalsky Horse
The animal is small, 130 cm high at the withers, and 200 cm long. The weight is about 300-350 kg. Legs of medium length, strong. The head is large, the ears are high, but the horse often presses them to the ground. The eyes are smart, dark in color. The tail is long and thick.
The coat is short and sparse in summer, and noticeably thickens in winter. The main difference between the breed and domestic horses in the mane, it is tough, erect, and the fringe is completely absent. Color saber (light red). The muzzle and belly may have a lighter shade, and the legs closer to the hooves, usually dark brown or black. On the back runs a straight, dark stripe.
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Horse breeds live in herds of 5-15 individuals. One individual can live from 20 to 25 years. In the herd there is a leader - the main stallion, which directs other horses. If the other male claims supremacy, they fight with the leader - the winner gets the "reins of government".
Life is nomadic, the herd stops only to rest, eat, drink, the rest of the time the pack looks for food and drink. In winter, they get greens and hay under the snow, digging it with their hooves. On hot days, the herd stops in the shade or right in the middle of the field, and continues on its way in the evening, at sunset.
Herd of Przhevalsky Horses
The leader during the rest of the herd is not sleeping, and protects his flock from possible danger. Females and males sleep in a semicircle, inside which are foals. If wolves, the main enemies, attack them, they will fight with their back hooves.
Individuals mate in the spring. A pregnant female walks about a year, and when a foal is born, it can stand on its feet from the very first day and follow its mother. For the first six months, the baby eats only the mother’s milk, and then switches to greens and hay, like other horses. An adult is considered to be 2-3 years old, at this time he is fighting off his mother and reaches reproductive age. True, he may try to mate earlier, but such alliances usually do not give any sense.
What is interesting in the breed?
The horse of the Przewalski breed is interesting in its history of origin, discovery, way of life, and even physiology. Here are some of the most interesting facts.
- This is the last wild species that survived from ancient times and was never tamed by man.
- Przewalski's horse has excellent hearing and excellent eyesight. They see at very far distances, and in order to be seen further, the leaders for review choose high points.
- In winter, to warm the offspring or a weakened horse, the herd gathers in a semicircle, inside of which is always warm due to the hot breath of animals.
- The leader rules the herd, but in harsh winters or during periods of hunger, an experienced female leads the herd, who can in any locality find a way to food and water. For them, in such moments, survival is important, not leadership.
- Today, the breed can be found in reserves and even in zoos, but it is a protected species and cannot be kept in captivity just like that. As a rule, they are held in such places for treatment, breeding or for selection work.