Saving species is essentially a forever-type problem.
March 13, 2015 8:46 AM   Subscribe

If other horses are the equivalent of feral dogs, then the Przewalski’s horse is a wolf. In its native Mongolia, where it goes by the name takhi, it is known as the father of horses. Mongolians regard the takhi as spiritual, holy animals, and for millennia they largely left them alone... The trouble all began in the late 19th century, when the Western world finally took note of the takhi. Nikolai Przewalski, a Polish-born explorer serving as a colonel in the Russian army, “discovered” the horses during an 1878 expedition to the Mongolian-Chinese frontier. Naturally, Przewalski named the horse after himself, and when he returned to the West, word quickly spread among zoos, adventurers, and curio collectors about the mysterious wild horses.
posted by ChuraChura (5 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
The horse culture in Mongolia is really something. Even the breed of horses that they ordinarily ride are far different from the horses we're familiar with in the West . . . they are smaller, stronger, and many are still semi-wild.

Given how unpopulated Mongolia is, it seems one of the places where such a project like this can really work without fear of too much human interaction (they are doing a similar thing to maintain Gobi bear populations, though Mongolians like to try and hunt rare animals).
posted by auggy at 9:09 AM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

This is quite a feat that they were able to make this happen as private individuals with no backing. That they devoted their lives to making sure these horses survived makes them heroes in my eyes. I just wish we had the quagga left...
posted by BlueHorse at 11:21 AM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's amazing to see how much these animals resemble these cave paintings in France.
posted by bonobothegreat at 1:08 PM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

Horses of the Ice Age

Fascinating post. Thank you.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:20 PM on March 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm amazed in that cave painting article that people thought the spotted horses were made up. Had they never seen a Knabstrup?
posted by winna at 8:06 PM on March 14, 2015

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