THE WILD SIDE

Animal Scene - - CONTENTS - by Gregg Yan

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)

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