April 15, 2024
Ollie the Przewalski’s horse. Photograph credit score: @sandiegozoo by way of X, or Twitter

San Diego Zoo Safari Park is now dwelling to the world’s second cloned Przewalski’s horse, a critically endangered species as soon as thought extinct, it was introduced Thursday.

The foal, born Feb. 17, 2023, and his surrogate mom, a home quarterhorse, had been just lately moved from his birthplace on the ViaGen Pets & Equine cloning facility in Texas so he can learn to be a wild horse from his personal species, in response to a press release from the zoo.

The foal was given the identify “Ollie” in honor of Dr. Oliver Ryder, director of Conservation Genetics at San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. Ryder started his profession on the zoo in 1975 beneath the steerage of Dr. Kurt Benirschke, who was instrumental in founding the conservation analysis program on the alliance.

“It’s an honor to have studied and labored with so many others on the conservation of this particular animal and to see come alive the opportunity of utilizing superior genetic and reproductive applied sciences to maintain resilient populations in human care and of their native habitat,” Ryder stated.

The world’s first cloned Przewalski’s horse, Kurt – named after Benirschke and likewise dwelling on the Safari Park – is the genetic twin of Ollie, as he was born in August 2020 from the identical stallion’s dwelling cell line.

That cell line was cryopreserved greater than 40 years in the past within the Frozen Zoo of the wildlife alliance’s Biodiversity Financial institution.

Previously extinct within the wild, the species has survived for the previous 40 years nearly solely in zoos. Almost all the surviving horses are associated to simply 12 Przewalski’s horses born in native habitats, the zoo stated.

The species has since been reintroduced to its native grasslands in China and Mongolia, however scientists say there’s extra work to be accomplished to make sure genetic variation and the species’ survival.

Przewalski’s horses usually stay in teams, the place a teenager secures their place within the herd from their mom. As a result of Ollie was born to a home horse, he has not had expertise with different Przewalski’s horses.

“Ultimately, San Diego Zoo Safari Park wildlife care specialists will work to make sure he positive aspects the distinctive behavioral language he might want to work together and thrive among the many bigger herd of Przewalski’s horses on the Safari Park, together with Kurt,” a wildlife alliance assertion stated.

Kurt is studying the language of being a wild horse from his companion, Holly, a younger feminine of his personal species. Ultimately, officers stated, they plan for Kurt and Ollie to develop into breeding stallions. They’ll attain maturity at about 4 years of age.

Ollie and his surrogate mom will briefly stay in a secluded, non-public habitat off view from company, till he is able to be launched to different horses of the species.

Safari Park company might even see Kurt and Holly within the park’s Central Asia subject habitat.

– Metropolis Information Service