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Werribee Open Range Zoo

Endangered horse foal born at Werribee Zoo

22 January 2019

Werribee Open Range Zoo’s new male Przewalski’s horse foal, Bataar, is already a hero despite only being welcomed into the world and his herd this month.

Bataar – a Mongolian name meaning ‘hero or a heroic figure’ – has been settling in to life well since he was born in the early hours of January 8th to Mum Mahan.

The rare animal, also known as the Mongolian Wild Horse, is a special addition to the zoo’s herd – there are only around 2,000 of them left in the world.

Once ranging across parts of Europe and central Asia, this subspecies of wild horse was listed as extinct in the wild in the 1960s by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (on the IUCN Red List).

Over the past 50 years, zoos around the world have worked together on an international breeding program to bring the species back from the brink and reintroduce the horses to the wild.

Foals like Bataar are proof of the success of captive breeding programs, including the one at Werribee Open Range Zoo, which is helping with the animal’s fighting extinction mission.

Keeper Linda Gardiner emphasises the importance of Bataar’s birth.

“There’s been so much effort and dedication around the world in increasing numbers of this horse over the years, and it’s really important and wonderful to be able to contribute globally to such a vital endangered species breeding program,” she said.

“Bataar’s got the whole herd looking out for him so he doesn’t have a trouble in the world. He’s growing stronger and more confident by the day.”

Although numbers are increasing, Bataar is still one of only around 2,000 Przewalski’s horses in the world. There are less than 200 mature individuals in the wild. They are now listed as endangered and are the only surviving species of wild horse, having never been domesticated by humans.

A visit to Werribee Open Range Zoo provides a rare opportunity to see this animal on the Zoo’s Safari Bus Tours, which are included in general entry.