Article

Article name THE ROLE OF ZOOS IN REPATRIATION OF EQUIDAE
Authors

Vladimir A. Ostapenko, Dr.Sc., Professor, Leading Researcher of the Moscow Zoo (Russia); Acting Head of the Department of zoology, ecology and environment protection in the K.I. Skryabin Moscow State Academy of veterinary medicine and biotechnology (Russia); e-mail: v-ostapenko@list.ru

Reference to article

Ostapenko V.A. 2019. The role of zoos in repatriation of Equidae. Nature Conservation Research 4(Suppl.2): 65–71. http://dx.doi.org/10.24189/ncr.2019.021

Section Short Communications
DOI https://dx.doi.org/10.24189/ncr.2019.021
Abstract

The author considers possible approaches to the reintroduction into the wild of three taxa of equids (Przewalski's horse, Turkmenian kulan, and eastern kiang) kept in zoos and breeding centres in Russia and neighbouring countries. The approach is based on personal 40-year experience in zoos and literature. The positive results in Russia are noted. Proposed are measures for restoration of the lost populations and the creation of new ones in those areas where animals lived during historical and prehistoric time. Therefore, it is proposed to establish a reserve Przewalski horse population on the island Vodnyi on the lake Manych-Gudilo in Rostov Region (Russia). It would replace the population of feral domestic horses living there. Such wildlife reservation would be used for completion of the restored natural populations of this species and for needs of zoos. We considered the issue of kulan resettlement in steppe and semi-arid zones protected from poaching as well as the possibility to use these areas for conservation of both thoroughbred Turkmenian kulans, and their hybrids with kiangs. This will increase a genetic diversity and stability of new populations. The main threat for restoration of wild equids is poaching, and for the Przewalski's horse, there is also the danger of easy hybridisation with domestic horses. In the region, 10 to 23 Przewalski's horse foals (on average, 15.7) 14 to 82 Turkmenian kulan foals (on average 39), 0 to 13 kiang foals (on average 3.9) are annually born. Out of them, on average 1.5 individuals of Przewalski's horses, 3.7 individuals of kulans, 0.0 individuals of kiangs died during their first year. The largest populations of equids are known in the Askania-Nova Biosphere Reserve, Bukhara breeding centres (Kagan), Prague zoo, Tallinn zoo, and Riga zoo. The total number of animals of each species has remained stable for the last 10 years. Thus, the role of zoos in conservation of endangered equid species remains important.

Keywords

Eurasian regional association of zoos and aquariums, gene pool, hybridisation, Kiang, nature conservation, poaching, Przewalski's horse, restored Tarpan, Turkmenian kulan

Artice information

Received: 15.02.2019. Revised: 05.04.2019. Accepted: 08.04.2019.

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