Przewalski’s Horse Populations in Hungary

More than 310 of the world’s 1,900 Przewalski’s horses live in the breeding herd in Hungary’s Hortobagy National Park.

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By Zita Makra, DVM, WEVA Regional Ambassador—Hungary

The Przewalski’s horse is an endangered subspecies of wild horse that has never been domesticated. It remains the only surviving truly wild horse in the world today.

The breed is named after the Russian colonel Nikolai Przhevalsky, who first described the horses in 1878 after going on an expedition to find them at Lake Lop-nor, Kazakhstan, based on rumors of their existence. Around 1900 Carl Hagenbeck captured many Przewalski’s horses and placed them in zoos.

The wild population declined in the 20th century due to a combination of factors, with the wild population in Mongolia dying out in the late 1960s; the last herd was sighted in 1967 and the last individual horse in 1969. Expeditions to Central Asia after this failed to locate any horses, and the species had been designated "extinct in the wild" for more than 30 years. At one point, just 12 individual Przewalski’s horses were left in the world, only existing in European zoos. The animals in zoos eventually reproduced, ultimately resulting in the populations that exist today

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