Target: Leonard Bleasel, Chairman of the Taronga Conservation Society
Goal: Thank conservation group for working to help save the last truly wild horses from extinction
In the thousands of years since humans began taming horses, many have gone feral and returned to the wild. But in the entire world there is only one horse species still considered completely wild, having never been domesticated. The Mongolian wild horse (known better as Przewalski’s horse) is native to central Asia, and by 1900 only a few dozen remained. Without intense conservation efforts, the Przewalski’s horse would surely be extinct today.
For more than 30 years, Australia’s Taronga Conservation Society has played a key role in the struggle to save the last wild horses. The goal has been to increase the genetic diversity of wild herds, as this is the horses’ best protection against disease and other health risks associated with inbreeding. By 1960 the only Przewalski’s horses left were in zoos, and the species was declared extinct in the wild; but breeding programs at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo and others have successfully reintroduced the animals to their natural habitat.
Today there are nearly 2,000 Przewalski’s horses living in the wild and in captive breeding programs. The animals are listed as endangered, and conservation efforts are ongoing. Applaud the Taronga Conservation Society for its dedication to saving this unique and beautiful species from extinction.
Dear Leonard Bleasel, Chairman of the Taronga Conservation Society,
In a world where extinction of plant and animal species is an all-too common occurrence, good news is a cause for celebration. The reintroduction of Przewalski’s horses into the wild, with your organization’s help, is such a success story. For more than thirty years now the Taronga Conservation Society, in partnership with the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, has worked to save these last wild horses. And today descendants of horses fostered through your program are raising foals of their own in the species’ native Mongolia.
Captive breeding programs have played a key role in saving species like the Przewalski’s horse, once declared extinct in the wild. It’s a patient process, in this case spanning several decades. But efforts to diversify the horses’ gene pool, once limited to a few dozen animals, have made the difference as they begin to take hold in the wild once again. Without the dedication of the Taronga Conservation Society and similar programs, this would be a world without Przewalski’s horses. I applaud you for your work on this issue, and on all the conservation causes the Society engages in.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ancalagon via Wikimedia