The cloned Przewalski’s foal at the Texas veterinary facility of ViaGen Equine collaborator, Timber Creek Veterinary, on Aug. 28, 2020. Scott Stine

First clone of endangered Przewalski’s horse born in conservation effort to save the species

We are always a bit suspicious when humans set up programs set to preserve what it has virtually destroyed. Additionally, we are not overly fond of the idea of an endangered species relying on zoos for their survival. And cloning the animals to boot. How about you? Besides, these horses are thriving in their native Mongolia. Here’s what we are talking about.

TIME MAGAZINE reports:

The first successfully cloned endangered Przewalski’s horse was born on Aug. 6 in a veterinary facility in Texas, San Diego Zoo Global announced on Friday. The horse was cloned from DNA of a male Przewalski’s horse cryopreserved by the zoo in 1980.

Przewalski’s horses are “critically endangered” animals that are found in Mongolia, per Smithsonian’s National Zoo. They’re considered the last species of “truly wild horses” and are “distant cousins” of modern day domestic horses, having likely split from a common ancestor around 500,000 years ago, per the Smithsonian.

Przewalski’s horses were once extinct in the wild, and while intensive breeding programs helped revive the species and reintroduce them into the grasslands of China and Mongolia, nearly all can be traced back to 12 Przewalski’s horses that were born in the wild, the San Diego Zoo said in its press release.

The successful cloning of DNA collected 40 years is meant to introduce key genetic diversity into the species that could benefit its survival. The zoo said the cloned Przewalski’s horse will eventually be transferred to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and integrated into a herd of other Przewalski’s horses for breeding.

“The work to save endangered species requires collaborative and dedicated partners with aligned goals,” Paul A. Baribault, president of San Diego Zoo Global, said in a statement. “We share in this remarkable achievement because we applied our multidisciplinary approach, working with the best scientific minds and utilizing precious genetic material collected and stored in our wildlife DNA bio bank.”

What are they really up to? They are experimenting on captive animals to achieve what exactly?

Przewalski horses released into native Mongolia

Here’s what the “real thing” looks like.

The Przewalski horses in Mongolia were near extinction until researchers began releasing them into the wild. It’s part of a project that has been ongoing for nearly 25 years.

Wild Horses: Przewalski horses released into their native Mongolia.

See what we mean. Sigh.

Featured Image: The cloned Przewalski’s foal at the Texas veterinary facility of ViaGen Equine collaborator, Timber Creek Veterinary, on Aug. 28, 2020. By Scott Stine.


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5 thoughts on “First clone of endangered Przewalski’s horse born in conservation effort to save the species”

  1. Canned hunt? Good grief! I have never heard of such a thing. Its a disgusting idea. And yet it does not surprise me that such a thing exists. I have read that the released horses in Mongolia are doing well. So I do not see the need for cloning. This smacks of scientific experiment to me But maybe I am just getting cynical in my old age!

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  2. I would rather conservationists go about the preservation of Przewalskis by cloning and release them into the wild, than see the species become extinct.

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  3. It is reported the San Diego Zoo sold some of the animals they overbred (lions and zebras) to Texas canned hunting facilities. Don’t trust them to do the right thing by the animals.

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    1. Omigod Tim. That’s horrible. We have been highly suspicious of zoos for decades. Thank you for the canned hunt information.

      The Fund for Horses rescued some mature zebras a zoo in Texas was going to sell to a canned hunt, the first time we had heard of such a thing. That was some time ago now.

      A zoo worker contacted us because we had a zebra on our original website.

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