THE WILD SIDE
I’m a horse lover. At least since my grandmother took me to Wright Park when I was five, spurring a lifelong interest in equines. I’d like to share a little of what I’ve learned along the ride. Unless you’ve been to the steppes of Mongolia or a very select number of zoos, every horse you’ve ever seen is domesticated. There are about 60 million horses on Earth, but only 1,500 of them are truly wild. The so-called wild mustangs of North America, the brumbies of Australia and Camargue horses of France live free, but are descended from domesticated horses who escaped their masters centuries ago. Up until the early 1900s, two types of truly wild horses existed—the European tarpan (Equus ferus ferus) and the Przewalski’s horse (Equus ferus przewalskii), which for millions of years has thrived in the steppes of Mongolia. The world’s last tarpan died in 1909 and the subspecies was declared extinct, but Pzewalski’s horses have survived to the modern age.
Gregg Yan not atop a Przewalski’s horse but a Palomino pony in the Cordilleras. He hopes to visit Mongolia to see the world’s last wild horses someday. Catch more animal stories in future issues of Animal Scene magazine! (Bam Dionisio)
A herd of wild Takhi or Przewalski’s horses. (Wikipedia/ Jairo Feris Delgado)
Przewalski’s horse painting inside the Lascaux cave complex in Southern France, estimated to be 17,000 years old. (Wikipedia/prof Saxx)