This spring, staff at a UK zoo were excited to welcome the arrival of Luujin, a rare Przewalski’s Horse foal. Born on April 13 at the Whipsnade Zoo to a mare named Charlotte, Luujin is part of the European Endangered Species program which manages and breeds wild animals living in European zoos to help with conservation of critically threatened species.
Considered by the scientific community to be “truly wild” as opposed to feral, Przewalski’s Horses are not related to domestic horses, unlike North American Mustangs or Australian Brumbies. Once listed as “extinct in the wild,” thanks to the breeding program at Whipsnade, these horses have been successfully reintroduced in their native lands in Mongolia and China where their population has increased. Accordingly, the species was upgraded to critically endangered in 2008 and upgraded again to endangered in 2011.
Zookeeper Luke Pharoah told the BBC, “Our team filmed the youngster’s first tentative steps moments after being born which gave us all an immense feeling of hope for this endangered species. We are delighted to have boosted the population of these incredible endangered animals.”