Wild Horses from Berlin Arrive in Kazakhstan

A rewilding project has successfully transported four Przewalski horses from Berlin to the Kazakh steppe. The horses have met with other members of their species and are now facing a significant task ahead.

The journey was long and arduous for Tessa, Wespe, Umbra, and Sary, the four Przewalski horses. They flew for 18 hours from Berlin in a Czech military plane, followed by a seven-hour journey in a truck. Upon their arrival at an acclimatization enclosure, they reunited with other horses from Prague who had arrived earlier.

Their mission is to form the first herd in the region together. Tessa, who established herself as the lead mare before departure, may potentially retain her position in the larger herd, according to a statement from the Berlin Zoo and Tierpark.

„We are relieved and quite proud to be able to witness this special moment,“ said Christian Kern from the Berlin Zoo and Tierpark. „A large team has contributed to the fact that we can stand here in the steppe with our Berlin horses today.“

The goal of the project, involving various conservation initiatives and zoological institutions, is to reintroduce at least 40 horses to their natural habitat in the steppe over the next five years. Conservationists hope that this will have a positive impact on the local plant and animal life. Wild horses, as large grazers, shape their habitat and create open spaces that can benefit insects, small mammals, and ground-nesting birds.

According to a statement, Przewalski horses were once prominent inhabitants of the region’s steppes up to about 200 years ago. However, they were exterminated in the wild at the beginning of the 20th century. Only a few individuals survived in human care, leading to the establishment of several breeding lines in Europe and North America. By the 1990s, the Przewalski horse population had grown to over 1,500 individuals. Similar reintroduction projects have also been initiated in Mongolia.