The Przewalski's horse (takh or takhi in Mongolian) is the ancestor of today's domestic horses. As a species it was never domesticated and is therefore the world's last truly wild horse, eventhough there are other wild members of the equine family.
The Przewalski's horse's name comes from Colonel Nicolaï Przewalski, a Russian explorer that spotted the horse in the Gobi desert in 1879 and later identified it as a species unknown to Western scientists. Of course, the Mongolian nomads lived with this species for centuries and, as shown in French cave paintings, Europeans likely encountered the Przewalski's horse (or a close cousin) 20,000 years ago.
Since its discovery to Westerners, the Przewalski's horse became a target for hunting and capturing campaigns which partly led to its extinction in the wild in the late 1960s. At that time the only surviving horses lived in zoos and originated from only 14 individuals. By 1990 the captive population grew to nearly 1000 individuals and talks of reintroduction to Mongolia began.
Claudia Feh, the founder of Association Takh, understood the need for the species to regain its "wildness" that it lost during captivity before being reintroduced. So, she began by bringing zoo-born horses to our reserve site in the Cevennes National Park in France.
After nearly 10 years of free-roaming in Le Villaret, our small population of Przewalski's horses formed families and displayed wild horse behaviour.
They were ready for a long trip back to their native Mongolia.