Przewalski horses 

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Source-This post on Przewalski horses has been created based on the article “Wild horse species is returned to the Kazakh steppes” published in “The Hindu” on 11 June 2024.

Why in News?

Przewalski horses were reintroduced to their native habitat in Kazakhstan.

About Przewalski horses

Przewalski's horse
Source: Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute
About1. Przewalski horses were found in Mongolia. They are the last truly wild horse.
2. Once thought to be the ancestor to the domestic horse, they are actually distant cousins.
3. Mitochondrial DNA suggests that they diverged from a common ancestor 500,000 years ago.
Physical Descriptioni) They are small, stocky, heavily built with a large head, thick neck, and short legs.
ii) They have dun-colored with a dark zebra-like erect mane, no forelock, and a dark stripe along the backbone to a dark, plumed tail.
iii) There are markings in their body which are of yellowish-white belly, dark lower legs, and zebra-like stripes behind the knees.
iv) Horses can withstand harsh winters with temperatures dropping below minus 30 degrees Celsius.
Native Habitati) They were originally found across Europe and Asia. Now they are found at reintroduction sites in Mongolia, China, and Kazakhstan.
ii) There are now 2,000 Przewalski horses around the world, mainly in China and Mongolia but, they are also found in France, Russia and living wild in the Chernobyl exclusion zone between Belarus and Ukraine.
DietGrass and leaves from shrubby trees
Social StructureTypically consist of several mares, a dominant stallion, and their offspring.
Younger stallions form bachelor herds and must defeat the dominant stallion to breed. Offspring are chased out upon reaching breeding age.
DistinctionWild Status: It is the only true wild horses left. Other “wild” horses are actually feral domestic horses.
Conservation statusIUCN: Endangered

UPSC Syllabus: Environment

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