An extraordinary return from the brink of extinction for world’s last wild horse
An international working group coordinated by scientists at the Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) Institute of Zoology (IoZ) have made the remarkable recommendation to reclassify the Mongolian Przewalski’s horses, previously categorised as ‘extinct’ in the wild, to ‘endangered’ on the IUCN red list of threatened species; a move which highlights the success of recent captive breeding and reintroduction programmes.
The working group of over 60 mammal specialists was managed by IoZ scientist Jonathan Baillie to assess Mongolian biodiversity and specifically, for the first time, examine the population of Przewalski’s horses since their reintroduction programme began in the 1990’s.
“This finding is significant as it shows reintroductions can work,” said Sarah King, ZSL project manager in Mongolia. “The status change is exciting because it illustrates that the horses have adjusted well to native conditions, they are surviving and reproducing well, indicating they haven’t been weakened by captivity - which was an initial worry.”
In 1945 there were only 31 horses in captivity but by the early 1990’s there were over 1500 and reintroductions began into their harsh, native environment of Mongolia..
“There were concerns that having been bred for 13 generations in captivity the animals would not be able to survive in the wild”, said Nick Lindsay, Head of International Zoo Programmes at ZSL, “however, there are now 248 free ranging Przewalski’s horses in the wild, a factor among others which has resulted in their remarkable status reclassification.”
The workshop initiated by ZSL, assessed the success of reintroductions carried out by various organisations over the past 15 years, which included a horse from the successful breeding programme at ZSL’s Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, which was reintroduced to Mongolia in 2001. If the recommendation is accepted by IUCN this reclassification will be a milestone for large mammal conservation.
To build on this achievement, ZSL and other international organisations will endeavor to support conservation of this species with continued monitoring, captive breeding and reintroduction.
Clare Kingston | alfa
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...