Prague - Three Przewalski horse mares from the Prague zoo were sent to Mongolia, their country of origin, aboard a CASA military transport planes today.
Zaměstnanci pražské zoo přivezli 1. července na letiště v pražských Kbelích bedny s koňmi Převalského, kteří odletěli do Mongolska, země svého původu. ČTK Kamaryt Michal
Originally, four Przewalski horses were to be transported there, but the fourth one was excluded from the transport over complications.
This has been the fourth transport of Przewalski horses to Mongolia, organised by the Prague zoo in cooperation with the Czech military.
Since 2011, 12 Przewalski horses have been sent to the Gobi B National Park in Mongolia. All of them could stand the trip quite well and they got used to the new habitat.
This year, three other mares will join them - Ulla, Gretel and Bayan.
At the very last moment, the fourth selected mare had to be replaced but no suitable candidate was found, and this is why only three flew to Mongolia to eliminate risks, Prague zoo director Miroslav Bobek told reporters.
The flight lasts 17.5 hours with an na intermediate landing in Kazan and Novosibirsk. The plane will finally land in Bulgan, not directly in the Gobi Desert as originally planned since the local authorities did not allow that.
From Bulgan the mares will be driven for seven hours to special fences for acclimatisation. They will stay there until next spring when they are to be released among other Przewalski horses in the national park.
The Prague zoo is one of the main organisers of the transfers of the Przewalski horse, the last of which was shot dead in the wild 40 years ago, back to its original homeland.
The transfers from Western Europe started in the 1990s and over a hundred horses have returned to Mongolia since.
At present, about 1900 Przewalski horses live all over the world, including some 300 heads in two national parks in Mongolia.
The Prague zoo started breeding the Przewalski horse in 1932. It has kept the international pedigree book of this species since 1959.