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Wild Horses Return to Kazakhstan

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A group of seven Przewalski’s horses, the last truly wild horse species, has returned to Kazakhstan’s steppes after being absent for about 200 years.

These horses, originating from zoos in Berlin and Prague, were transported to their native habitat by a Czech air force plane.

Przewalski’s horses once roamed the vast grasslands of central Asia, where horses are believed to have been first domesticated around 5,500 years ago. The horses were nearly driven to extinction by hunting and habitat fragmentation due to human activity.

Filip Mašek from Prague Zoo explained the significance of these horses, emphasizing that they are the only remaining wild horses in the world, unlike mustangs, which are domesticated horses that went wild. The horses reintroduced to Kazakhstan are descendants of small groups that survived in zoos in Munich and Prague.

Initially, eight horses were supposed to make the journey, but one horse had to be left behind after experiencing dizziness before the flight. The horses need to stand for the entire 30-hour trip to ensure proper blood circulation.

Reintroducing these horses is expected to boost biodiversity in the region. Mašek highlighted that the horses play a crucial role in the ecosystem by spreading seeds, aiding water absorption into the soil, and fertilizing the steppe with their dung.

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