Rafilia T. Bakirova, PhD, Director of the Joint Directorate of State Nature Reserves «Orenburg» and «Shaitan-Tau» (Donetskaya Street, 2/2, Orenburg, 460001, Russia); e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tatjana L. Zharkikh, Head of the Reintroduction Centre for the Przewalski Horse of the Joint Directorate of State Nature Reserves «Orenburg» and «Shaitan-Tau» (Donetskaya Street, 2/2, Orenburg, 460001, Russia); e-mail: email@example.com
The Przewalski's horse Equus ferus przewalskii is the only wild representative of the subgenus true horses left in the world. This article discusses the history of projects on the reintroduction of the Przewalski's horse in Russia and compares two different programmes in Orenburg Region given a support from UNDP/GEF Steppe Project. The Programme on restoration of the Przewalski's horse population in Orenburg Region known as the project «Orenburg Tarpania» was developed and managed by the working group comprising representatives from A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution of RAS, Zoological Museum of Moscow State University, Steppe Institute of Ural Branch of RAS. FSFI «Orenburg Reserves» is the inventor, policymaker, and implementer of the Programme on establishing a semi-free population of the Przewalski's horse in the Orenburg State Nature Reserve supported by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation. Despite all interested parties shared the idea to reintroduce Przewalski's horses into the Pre-Urals Steppe site in the Orenburg State Nature Reserve, the Programme by FSFI «Orenburg Reserves» diverges completely from the project «Orenburg Tarpania» on some of the key issues. The main difference between the two projects is the basic goal within the period 20 to 30 years. The project «Orenburg Tarpania» is intended to establish a free population of the Przewalski's horses within its historical area in Russia despite certain risks of economic, financial, social and biological contingencies. The future of the project is uncertain. The Programme on establishing a semi-free population of the Przewalski's horse in the Orenburg State Nature Reserve by FSFI «Orenburg Reserves» has become the first successful attempt to restore wild horses in their nature habitats in Russia. The Programme aims to establish a sustainable breeding population of genetic valuable pure-bred Przewalski's horses in a fenced nature area. FSFI «Orenburg Reserves» has successfully developed and launched the Programme over the past four years: the Reintroduction Centre was built, several groups of founder horses were brought to the Orenburg State Nature Reserve, acclimatised there, some have already been released into the main territory of Pre-Urals Steppe.
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