British Zoo celebrates birth of endangered Mongolian wild horses
Whipsnade Zoo, just outside London, is celebrating two important new arrivals.
Whipsnade Zoo, just outside London, is celebrating two important new arrivals. A male foal called Luujin and an as of yet unnamed female were born to a herd of rare Przewalski's horses at the zoo this spring. The births are a boost to the zoo's international breeding program which backs up the endangered Przewalski's population in the wild. Native to Asia, the Przewalski's horse is untamed – even at Whipsnade, where it roams unhindered on a large expanse of open grassland. It is officially the only truly wild horse on earth, with two extra chromosomes that differentiate it from a domestic horse. It looks distinctive, short, slightly stocky light brown in color and with a short, tufted mane. Despite ever increasing numbers of Przewalski's horses in Mongolia and China, there are still challenges ahead as they re-establish themselves in the wild. ZSL has a partner program in Mongolia, helping to protect the species and its native habitat. Country Director from Mongolia says the horses suffer from more extreme weather linked to climate change. "These zoo animals are trying to re-adapt back to their original native habitat, but because we have extreme drought, we have very heavy winters with very low temperatures," she says.