On April 19th, 2021, the almost twenty-hectare plain at Prague’s Dívčí hrady became the new home to Przewalski’s horses.
The Prague Zoo staff transported the first four mares from the breeding station in Dolní Dobřejov. They will be joined by a stallion in due time.
“The purpose of this project is not only to regenerate this historic site but also to use the wild horses to graze the grass, thus contributing to the return of the original communities of plants and animals,” said Miroslav Bobek, Prague Zoo’s director. “It is also important for us that Prague’s citizens will be able to see Przewalski’s horses at Dívčí hrady while we are rebuilding their stables and enclosures at the zoo.”
The first inhabitants at Dívčí hrady are the mares Khamiina, Xicara, Lana and Gruhne (see below for more details). They were chosen so that they guaranteed the greatest possible genetic diversity for the future reproduction of this group of Przewalski’s horses.
Visitors will be able to observe them from three viewpoints with barrier-free access. One of them is raised, and thus not only provides a unique view of the horses themselves but also of the Prague panorama.
“The mission of every zoo is not only to provide a pleasant way for its visitors to spend their leisure time, but, above all, to protect endangered species. Our zoo has been involved in the conservation of the Przewalski’s horse for a long time. We’ve even managed to return them to their original homeland in Mongolia,” describes Petr Hlubuček, Deputy Mayor of the City of Prague. “I am glad that the unused land at Dívčí hrady will be used for our herd of Převalský’s horses and to conserve this endangered species.”
The entire enclosure will be monitored by zoo staff and a camera system. In addition, there is an electric fence inside, which prevents the horses from getting close to the actual fence.
“Our greatest worry is that people won’t restrain themselves from feeding the horses. I really must say to everyone, please don’t do this! You can cause them serious health problems or even a painful death,” warns Miroslav Bobek. “Not even a piece of bread or a carrot. Don’t give them anything at all.”