Mongolian Community Name Foal

6 June 2014

Members of Victoria’s close-knit Mongolian community have named Werribee Open Range Zoo’s newest addition, a rare Przewalski’s horse foal.

President of the Mongolian Association of Victoria, Mr Bayarkhuu Purevdorj announced the name today during a special visit to Werribee Open Range Zoo to meet the new foal and herd of Mongolian wild horses.

The four-week old foal has been named Hatan, which means ‘queen’ in Mongolian and also rhymes with her mother’s name, Mahan.

Mr Bayarkhuu Purevdorj said that the opportunity to name the foal was a huge thrill for the very small community of less than 200 Mongolians living in and around Melbourne.

“Naming the horse has created a lot of excitement and energy within the community.”

“Przewalski’s horses are incredibly important in Mongolian culture and we think the name Hatan is very fitting” he said.

The four-week old foal was born in the early hours of Mother’s Day. Remarkably this is the second time that Mahan has given birth on Mother’s Day with her last foal born in 2012.

Hatan is one of very few Przewalski’s horses left in the world.

Native to Western Mongolia, they were declared extinct in the wild in the 1960s, with the last populations surviving in zoos.

Zoos around the world have been working together over the last 50 years to bring this species back from the brink, successfully reintroducing animals back to the wild.

There are now believed to be almost 2,000 Przewalski’s horses, including 300 animals in the wild, with Werribee Open Range Zoo playing an important part in this breeding program.

Keeper Phoebe Allen said that staff were delighted by the arrival of the new filly.

“After almost losing these amazing animals, it’s wonderful to see their numbers increasing around the world.”

“Hatan is a such a joy to watch. She’s very confident and inquisitive, exploring our traditional gers and already trying to eat hay like mum” she said.