Job offer : volunteer in Mongolia
We recruit a new volunteer in Mongolia for one year, from 1st February 2017.
Le Villaret center information is open! (8th july to 25th august 2016)
Job offer : volunteer in Mongolia
We recruit a new volunteer in Mongolia for one year, from 1st August 2016.
Job offer : programme director in Mongolia
We recruit a programme director in Mongolia for five years in early 2016.
Uncovering the genetic history of Przewalski's horses
Association Takh's Director and Co-founder Claudia Feh recently co-authored an article in Current Biology which further unravels the genetic history of the Przewalski's horse. The researchers sequenced the complete genomes of 21 domestic horses and 17 Przewalski's horses, including historical specimens from 1878–1929. The results confirm that domestic horses and Przewalski's horses split approximately 45,000 years ago and, while there was a certain amount of gene flow between the two species since their split, the exchange was less than previously thought. This research also identified genes unique to Przewalski's horses and unraveled the genetic implications of over a 100 years of captivity. One of the lead scientists of this research, Dr Ludovic Orlando, concluded that “Eventhough Przewalski’s horses went through an extreme demographic collapse, the population seems to recover, and is still genetically diverse.” (www.sci-news.com)
The last of our founders
In 1993, our Director and her collaborators brought 11 Przewalski’s horses from various European zoos to Villaret. Living on the Cevennes steppe allowed these horses to discover their wild nature: they learned to share the pasture and form a herd made up of several family groups. In 2004 and 2005, 22 of their offspring were reintroduced to the buffer zone of the Khar Us Nuur National Park in western Mongolia, where today they have grown to a population of 53.
In July, Sabrina, the eldest of our Villaret herd and last zoo-born horse died at 27 years old. But her legacy lives on: her 7 foals have collectively produced more than 20 foals themselves, a few of whom roam the Mongolian steppe today...
Le Villaret information center is open!
Horse report for 2014
2014 was a record breaking year for foals; there were 19 in total (10 at Seer and 9 in Villaret). Unfortunately, the Mongolian herd was hit by an exceptionally high mortality due, in large part, to an anthrax epidemic. This bacteria occurs naturally and outbreaks from time to time in Mongolia and elsewhere.
In Le Villaret, we hit and even surpassed our pasture's carrying capacity of 40 horses. As we do not feed the horses, we need quite a bit of space for relatively few individuals. So, our solution was to send the horses to a suitable site in northeast Spain where the horses will continue to live in semi-free conditions.
Let's knit !
We still have some hand-spun balls of baby camel wool. Women of the khomyntaal’s community offer you an exceptionally fine down, 100% natural, hand spun with a wheel. Supportthisinitiativeby providing you an originalwoolfor your creations! Visit our online store
The Villaret information center is open!
The Villaret welcome center will be open from Sunday July 9th to Friday August 29th.
We are open everyday, except Saturday, from 10am - 1pm and from 4pm to 7pm. Come visit us to choose which horse will you adopt next year, discover our exhibits on our work and the horse, our store with Takh merchandise and Mongolian felt products, meet our team and, of course, catch a glimpse of the horses!
If you wish to learn more about horses and their unique behavior in semi-free conditions, sign up for a 4 day training led by an expert ethologist.
Paleomix, what a funny name!
No, Paleomix doesn't come out of the Asterix and Obelix comic books! Paleomix is the name of a research group at the Centre of GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark. In 2013, these researchers published an article that was very important for the scientific understanding of the biology of the Przewalski horse.
The article, published in the prestigious journal Nature, found that, from an evolutionary point of view, the Przewalski's horse and domestic horse diverged genetically 38,000 to 72,000 years ago. This means that the Przewalski's horse and the domestic horse are truly different species, and that the Przewalski's horse is indeed the last wild horse.
In tribute to this group of researchers, we named one of the 2013 foals, born in Mongolia, Paleomix (pictured here). According to our ranger, Paleomix is the most beautiful, largest and strongest foals of 2013. He benefits from his size to go after older foals in the other groups, because, in his family, there is only one foal from 2013: Nine, a young, slender filly. So, Paleomix prefers to plays with Higgs and Urgamal, and together they form a the " terrible trio" who are run amok. The future stallions of Mongolia will be something!