Another Asian wild horse now calls Lee Richardson Zoo home. Ibaqa, a 9 year old female arrived Sunday, January 8, from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia. Ibaqa joins Berezhnei, a 20-year-old male, and Yelena, a 31-year-old female. All three horses are here in cooperation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.
“We’re very excited about Ibaqa’s arrival and absolutely love her tenacity.” said Keeper II Pablo Holguin. “She is small in stature but has held her own with Yelena and Berezhnei. Ibaqa is a beautiful horse and is a great addition to the herd.”
Also called Przewalski’s (sheh-VAHL-skee) horses or Mongolian wild horses, the Asian wild horse has never been domesticated. This equid species is the last true species of wild horse remaining in the world.
While we won’t be breeding these horses at Lee Richardson Zoo, housing the three here contributes to the Species Survival Plan by providing space for breeding at other facilities and helps spread awareness of this endangered species.
Asian wild horses were once extinct in the wild, but thanks to captive populations in Europe and the United States, the species is being reestablished in its native habitat in Mongolia and China.
“We’re glad we get to share the story of the Asian wild horse with our community,” said Zoo Director Kristi Newland. “We can all learn from their story and play a role in conservation efforts to help this and other endangered species.”