On Monday, El Paso Zoo officials announced the birth of a female Przewalski’s horse, also known as the Mongolian horse, to the zoo family.
“We are excited about the birth of our new p. horse and the fact that we are contributing to the conservation and survival of the species,” said El Paso Zoo Collections Supervisor Griselda Martinez. “Currently, the P. horse family is doing well. They are under the close watch and care of the p. horse team. The filly is not available for public viewing just yet, because we need to make sure that she is bonding, nursing, and getting around well,”
She is the second filly born to the zoo’s adult Przewalski’s horses, Brianna and Vitalis.
“This is an important moment in the history of the El Paso Zoo Team and the City of El Paso in our continuing conservation endeavors,” said El Paso Zoo Animal Curator John Kiseda. “It’s a rare opportunity to be able to be involved in placing an endangered species back into its natural habitat in its home region, especially when that home region is far away in another land on a different continent. This is what being part of an AZA zoo is all about and just one more reason to be proud of the cooperative and collegial work of conservationists throughout the world.”
The first filly “Misha” was born in 2018 and has recently been transferred to a facility in Minnesota to acclimate to winter conditions before making another journey to the Orenburg Reserve located in the Preduralskaya Steppe in Russia.
As part of the journey, four males and four females, including Misha, will be released into 16,500 hectares of prime horse habitat, a region with everything required to sustain and breed the Przewalski’s horse in the wild. There, they will spend time at the Reintroduction Centre in acclimatization corrals, adapting to their new climatic conditions, under the close supervision of the Orenburg Reserve team.
The Orenburg Reserve hopes to have 100-150 wild horses by the year 2030, a key component to ensure the long-term conservation of the valuable Russian steppe habitat and restoration of its key species. Przewalski’s horses are an endangered species that are managed in North America via an Association of Zoos and Aquariums [AZA] Species Survival Plan program [SSP].
Zoo staff continues to closely supervise the new Przewalski horse and will determine when the animal is able to make her public debut.