Przewalski horses (Przewalski pronounced shuh-VAL-skee) are the only breed of horse that has never been domesticated, and they have a long and interesting past.
At one point the Przewalski horses were thought to be extinct in the wild, however, they have recently been reintroduced to its native lands and their population is higher than it has been in decades. With captive breeding programs in place, it has given hope that the unique breed of horses will be here to stay.
Przewalski horses are smaller in stature, standing only 12-14 hands high, compared to the average domestic horse standing 14-17 hands. Weighing between 550-800 pounds, they have a bulky build, with broad necks and stubby legs.
The wild horses display some distinguishable attributes of their cousin, the zebra, that link the two species together. Without having a forelock, the Przewalski horse has a dark, mounted mane that resembles a zebra’s, a dark stripe along the spine, and stripes behind their knees.
When conservationists became aware that the wild horse breed was on the brink of complete extinction, they began working to saving them. The Zoological Society of London initiated the effort to partner up with Mongolian researchers and develop a captive breeding program.
Within the next 50 years, the breed made an extraordinary resurgence, and the population was estimated to be around 1,500 horses by 1990. Breeding programs were introduced around the globe and are working together to assist in reviving the population. At this time, there are believed to be 1,900 Przewalski horses, and their conservation status has been changed from extinct in the wild to endangered.
The population of the Przewalski horse is on the rise. Researchers are starting to see the number of horses in the wild are growing naturally and without human intervention. This magical breed of horses has survived the test of time, and conservationists are hopeful that their efforts are working towards bringing the nearly extinct horse back to life.