Four Przewalski horses were flown from the Prague Zoo to Mongolia via the Prague Kbely military airport on Saturday afternoon, reports Lidovky.
Przewalski horses are a rare and endangered subspecies of wild horse also known as a Mongolian horse. The horses have never been domesticated and remain one of the truly wild horses in existence today.
The mares, accompanied by veterinarians, are heading to the Great Gobi B nature preserve, where they will later be released to mate. Before being set free they will be held in an acclimatized enclosure where they will find a stud.
“It’s complicated and risky and serious problems can very easily happen,” said zoo director Miroslav Bobek at a news conference. The horses must travel in air-conditioned crates for 20 hours.
Heia, Reweta, Nara, and Heilig, were all born in 2013. They come from various European countries and were chosen because they have the best chance at reproduction.
The Prague Zoo has been a world leader in the rearing of Przewalski horses since 1959. The zoo has transported nineteen Przewalski horses from the Czech Republic to Mongolia (a distance of almost six thousand kilometers). Descendants of those horses are alive today.
This is just the sixth time in history the transport of these rare horses will take place. “They are really at home there where they have lived the longest,” said Bobek, who hopes to establish a less taxing way of transporting the horses in the future.