Baby boom: Minnesota Zoo welcomes two Asian wild horses

  • Article by: COLEEN KELLY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 31, 2013 - 3:51 PM

The horses, once extinct in the wild, are being bred and reintroduced to protected lands as part of a coordinated species survival plan.

Two Asian wild horses, known as "takhi," are making their public debut at the Minnesota Zoo on Aug. 1. 

The female foal, born July 17, is named Varushka (pronounced with a long u), and the male, born July 20, is named Otradnoye (pronounced “atradnia”). 

Asian wild horses disappeared from the wild in the 1960s but are being reintroduced to protected lands as part of a coordinated species survival plan. Since the Minnesota Zoo opened in 1978, more than 40 foals have been born there, and many of them have found homes at other zoos. One stallion was shipped to the Netherlands, where he produced offspring for release. More than 80 descendants of his now roam the Hustai Nuruu National Park in Mongolia.

Because of the reintroduction projects, the horse's status has been updated from "critically endangered" to "endangered" by the International Union of Conservation and Nature.

In their natural habitat, the grassy steppes of Eurasia, the horses live in small herds and travel widely in search of food. The horses are shorter and more stockily built than domestic horses and weigh about 60 pounds at birth.

The foals will be on exhibit daily at the Apple Valley zoo starting Aug. 1 from 1:30-6 p.m.

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  • Two Asian wild horses, known as "takhi," will join the Minnesota Zoo's Northern Trail exhibit starting Aug. 1, from 1:30-6 p.m. The horses are about 60 pounds at birth. The female foal, pictured on the left and born July 17, is named Varushka (pronounced like it sounds, with a long u), and the male, born July 20, is named Otradnoye (pronounced “atradnia”).

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