In 2004 and 2005, four families and one male bachelor group were transported from our breeding site in France, were they had learned to survive on their own, to our reintroduction site in western Mongolia. The horses were released into a 14,000 hectare enclosure to create an independent and safegaurded population. This became the third population to be reintroduced to Mongolia.
By using our insights of the behavior of Przewalski horses and the strict guidelines of the IUCN we implemented a careful reintroduction strategy.
How did we transport 22 horses from France to Mongolia?
We chose to transport the horses by plane because it is fastest and avoids the vagaries of crossing numerous boundaries between France and Mongolia. This meant, of course, that the horses had to be placed in individual crates. It takes a lot of handling to put a Przewalski's horse in a crate, especially since these horses had been born at Le Villaret, not in zoos. We first penned the family groups together for several weeks and accustomed them to hay feeding. This helped them get ready for the day of transport...
Hay is used to lure horses into their custom fit crates.
The horses, now loaded into their individual wooden crates at Le Villaret, were trucked to Nîmes, the closest airport.
A cargo plane flew the horses to Khovd, 1000 km west of Ulaanbaatar.
A smaller cargo plane transported the animals directly to the south of Khomyn Tal. There is no asphalt airstrip there, so the Mongolian pilots landed directly on the steppe.
A four-wheel drive truck drove the horses into the release site, were they finally ended their long journey!