China breeding center prepares endangered horses for winter

URUMQI, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) — Przewalski’s horses are being treated to a winter feast as Chinese breeders prepare a buffet of nutritious food for them.

“We stored more than 400 tonnes of fodder including clovers, corn and carrots for the Przewalski’s horses in captivity,” said Yang Jianming, director of the Xinjiang Wild Horse Breeding and Research Center, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

There are more than 2,000 Przewalski’s horses in existence worldwide. The center is the world’s largest wild horse breeding base, with a horse population of 481 including 97 in captivity, 267 in the wild and 117 in semi-captivity.

Just days ago, a blizzard hit Junggar Basin where the center is located, with temperatures as low as minus 12 degrees Celsius.

“The food, especially the carrots and corn, can meet the nutritional needs of the wild horses in winter and prepare them for the breeding season in spring,” said Yang.

Some horses have adapted to life in the wild and do not need to be fed by breeders in the chilling winter months. However, those in captivity and in semi-captivity still need nutritious fodder to survive the winter, Yang added.

The Przewalski’s horse, named after its Russian discoverer, is an endangered species native to the desert grassland of Central Asia. It is considered the only wild horse in existence today.

Once extinct in China due to hunting and a deteriorating environment, the horses were reintroduced to the country in the 1980s from Europe and raised in Xinjiang and Gansu.

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