Equids in Danger
Of the 7 wild Equid species in existence, 6 are currently threatened with extinction.
THE closest wild relative to the domestic horse, the Przewalski horse or tahki, is a huge conservation success story. Also known as the Asian wild horse and the ONLY living true wild horse, they have roamed the grassland steppes of Europe and Asia for millennia. By the late 1960’s, they were driven to extinction in the wild due to hunting by humans, competition for grazing lands, and high mortality from harsh winters. Through intensive breeding and reintroduction efforts from several zoos in Europe and North America, the captive population went from about a dozen individuals to more than 500 Asian wild horses running free in Mongolia, China and Russia.
THE most critically endangered Equid is the Somali wild ass, the ONLY living subspecies of the African wild ass and a very close relative of the domestic donkey. As of 2011, there were about 200 individuals in captivity around the globe, living at 34 zoos. The wild population is believed to be under 100 animals, but is unknown due to warfare and remote locality. At the very least, they are a valuable reservoir of wild genes, which may some day be important in breeding domestic donkeys and mules. To lose this iconic beast and genetic treasure, would be a travesty for future generations.