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Threatened Przewalski's horses back to natural conditions in Russia's steppes

March 15, 10:45 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Last October, Przewalski's horses arrived in Russia from France, where they lived in an enclosed natural grassland
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© Tatyana Zharkikh/Orenburg nature reservation
© Tatyana Zharkikh/Orenburg nature reservation

MOSCOW, March 15. /TASS/. A program to return endangered Przewalski's horses to the Urals region of Orenburg, their natural living conditions, has become successful, Russia’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergey Donskoy wrote on his Facebook page on Monday.

"It was another successful project on reintroduction of animals to natural conditions," Donskoy said. "It is a pleasure that we implement it with our French partners and Conservation of Steppes in Russia organization."

"Nowhere in the world the horses live in their natural steppes," he said, adding that the project is widely covered in media outlets.

Last October, Przewalski's horses arrived in Russia from France, where they lived in an enclosed natural grassland. In November, they were taken to the Orenburg nature reservation, where they will be free to roam its territory of 38,200 hectares after an adaptation period, expected to last near five years.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Przewalski's horse - with a thick mane in winter and characteristic dark stripe from mane to tail - ranged from the Russian steppes to Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and northern China until the late 18th century.

After Russian explorer Nikolai Przhevalski was thought to have described the species in the late 19th century, the herds were chased down to exhaustion, pushing the Przewalski's horse into extinction in its natural habitats.

Reintroduction efforts were underway to return animals to the wild are considered to be successful.

The species are put in the endangered red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and are under the protection of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Currently, Przewalski's horses live only in natural reserves.

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