Przewalski's Horse is legally protected in Mongolia. It is protected as Very Rare under part 7.1 of the Law of the Mongolian Animal Kingdom (2000). Hunting has been prohibited since 1930, and the species is listed as Very Rare under the 1995 Mongolian Hunting Law (MNE 1996). It is listed as Critically Endangered in both the 1987 and 1997 Mongolian Red Books (Shagdarsuren et al. 1987, MNE 1997), and in the Regional Red List for Mongolia (Clark et al. 2006). The taxon's entire re-introduced range in Mongolia is within protected areas. It is listed on CITES Appendix I (as Equus przewalskii).
The following conservation measures are in place:
- An International Studbook was produced in 1959, followed in the 1970s by establishment of the North American Breeders Group, which developed into the Species Survival Plan for the Przewalski’s horse. The European Endangered Species Program for this species was accepted in 1986. Many countries now cooperate in these programs to minimize inbreeding and retain genetic diversity in their horse populations.
- There are three ongoing reintroduction sites in Mongolia.
- The Status and Action Plan for the Przewalski's Horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) was produced in 2002 (see Wakefield et al. 2002), and provides a more detailed account of the history and ongoing conservation efforts surrounding the species.
- All three reintroduction sites are fully monitoring their populations and are integrating community livelihood support into their projects.
- There have been several workshops of stakeholders involved in the reintroduction of Przewalski's Horse to Mongolia (Boyd 2009). At the ‘Endangered Wild Equid Workshop’ held in Ulaanbataar in 2010 the following threats were identified: loss of population due to stochastic events (i.e. severe winter); limited habitat and resources (pasture and water); domestic horses (hybridization, disease, social stress); lack of information, appreciation / awareness, lack of knowledge; and exploitation of resources (i.e. mining). Specific actions needed for each threat category were identified and described.
Conservation measures required:
- The health of wild and domestic horses should be monitored for disease (Roberts et al. 2005). Standardized techniques should be used to monitor health, fecundity, mortality, habitat utilization and social organization of all populations (Wakefield et al. 2002), and contact between Przewalski's Horses and domestic horses should be kept to a minimum.
- A single population management approach should be developed.
- Mongolia currently has the only wild population and an action plan is needed for the country.
- The genealogy of all horses in Mongolia should be established based on individual micro-satellite data to monitor inbreeding levels, identify hybrids and plan for necessary movements of horses between reintroduction centers to maximize genetic diversity.
- An authoritative government protocol for hybrids should be developed, to be established before hybridization occurs, and to be made available in each re-introduction centre and to local people (King and Gurnell 2005).
- Further communication and cooperation between all re-introduction centres would be beneficial.
- Further training and post-graduate education of staff and biologists involved with this conservation work.
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