In pictures: World's last 'truly wild' horse at Whipsnade Zoo
- Credit: ZSL
Zookeepers have captured on camera a first glimpse of a rare and endangered przewalski foal, the world’s last “truly wild” species of horse.
The female foal was born at Whipsnade Zoo on July 17, as part of the European Endangered Species Programme, and is just starting to explore her surroundings with her mum.
Unlike other species of horse that are sometimes described as ‘wild’, the przewalski horse (equus przewalskii) is the only species considered by conservationists to be truly wild, rather than simply “feral”, as it is not descended from domesticated horses.
Keepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo had been monitoring the foal’s pregnant mum, Charlotte, and were delighted when she gave birth to a healthy, female foal in a secluded area of the 600-acre zoo.
The keepers sent their photos of the foal to ZSL conservationists working in Mongolia and asked them to name her. Their colleagues named the pointy-eared foal “Sooton” which means “sassy and vigilant” in Mongolian.
Przewalski horses bred at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo were successfully reintroduced to Mongolia as part of a conservation project by Mongolian and UK ZSL scientists to save the then Extinct-in-the-Wild species.
There are now hundreds of wild przewalski horses living in the grasslands and deserts of Mongolia, Ukraine and China, and their population is increasing. As a result of reintroduction projects, the IUCN Red List reclassified the przewalski horse as Critically Endangered in 2008, and then again as Endangered as 2011.
- 1 Dog owner avoids jail after hitting pet so hard that wooden pole snaps
- 2 St Albans Post Office branch re-opening after three years
- 3 Man arrested following alleged St Albans M&S theft
- 4 Recap: Lorry catches fire on M25 in Hertfordshire
- 5 Woman in her 70s victim of St Albans 'distraction theft'
- 6 Local NHS111 service provider to handle minor injuries at St Albans City Hospital
- 7 Recap: Rail firm cancels trains due to Herts 'operational issue'
- 8 Woodland access saved by Chiswell Green campaigner
- 9 The latest court results for the St Albans area
- 10 Cool off at London Colney's new Watersplash
Team leader Mark Holden said: “We are delighted to welcome another przewalski foal to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, boosting the number of these incredible, Endangered animals – the last remaining species of truly wild horse left in the world.
“While we monitored the situation carefully, we also knew that, as an experienced mum, Charlotte would know just what to do, and that she would care wonderfully for her newborn foal. She’s been very protective, so we’ve kept our distance, happy to see that Sooton’s suckling and developing well.
“Sooton has mostly stayed close to her mum and her big sister Shargahan but is just starting to stretch her legs and try to gallop.”
Visitors can see Sooton and her herd by booking tickets at zsl.org