Przewalski’s Horse

When I first heard about this, I thought “Well, that’s nice,” but the more I hear about it, I’m tending more towards “That is fucking brilliant,” and it makes me proud to live in Prague.
Przewalski’s Horse is a breed native to Mongolia and, at the time of Genghis Khan, they were quite numerous. By the 1960s, they were down to about a dozen, in captivity. Now, I’m aware of the arguments against the existence of zoos, and some of the animals there could be treated better, but preservation of endangered species is one thing they’ve got right.
Now, the city of Prague, whose zoo has had one of the most successful breeding programs (by their own estimate, approximately 70% of those which have been reintroduced to the wild in Mongolia are descendants of the Prague herd) has done something super cool (and simple, inexpensive, and replicable). They’ve taken that herd out of the zoo and given them a place of their own, a much bigger grassy plain, about 20 acres, a bit south of Smichov. They’ve set up observation towers around the perimeter and (although I haven’t been there yet) I’ve been told the views over the river are lovely.
Their paddock in the zoo wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t impressive. Whether you started your trip to the zoo on the upper trail, with the Indonesian Pavilion, the polar bears, the otters, the elephants and giraffes, and the kangaroos, or the lower route, starting with the penguins, and the flamingos, and the apes, the big cats, the snakes and the giant tortoises, you would hit Przewalski’s horses right about in the middle, as your feet are starting to hurt and you’re getting irritated at all the crowds.
This is a win for the horses, and for the people.
I’d like to see more zoos decentralize like this.

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