Return of the wild horses. To steppes as well as to Troja

It was constantly below zero in Astana last week. However, it didn’t matter too much because we spent almost all our four-day-long stay there in meetings and negotiations.

The return of the wild horses to Kazakhstan will start in less than a quarter of a year. On Monday, June 3, two CASA military planes will take off, one of them from Prague, the other from Berlin. With them we will transport first eight Przewalski’s horses to the “golden steppe” Altyn Dala in central Kazakhstan. There is still a lot to arrange, but I will not waste space to describe everything.  The important thing is that groups of Przewalski’s horses, from which we will select four each for the transport itself, are already waiting in Dolní Dobřejov and in Berlin, the flight route of CASA planes is planned, the landing airport and also two alternate landing areas are selected, and acclimatization enclosures are built. That is why we were also able to introduce our plans together with all partner organizations in two press conferences: last week in Astana, where the entire press conference was broadcasted live on television, and this week in Prague.

However, we have not forgotten about Mongolia. On the contrary. We are closely monitoring the situation in Gobi in the southwest of the country, where this year’s harsh winter, unlike the last year’s, has not hit “our” Przewalski’s horses very hard so far, and we continue to work on the reintroduction project for eastern Mongolia. Now we are focusing mainly on preparation of construction of the base and enclosures in the Valley of Monasteries. This means, on one hand, securing all necessary permits, and on the other hand, market research in Mongolia and especially in China, from where most of the building materials are imported.

I understand that the visitors to our zoo can support all of this, but at the same moment it is a bit distant for them. So, let’s go back to Prague and Troja. The new exhibition complex Gobi is completed. And although they are not yet visible to visitors, four Przewalski’s horses have already moved into the new enclosures and stables. We brought the stallion Granola and the mares Victoria II and Konni from Dolní Dobřejov, and the mare Xicara from Dívčí hrady in Prague. Most of the other inhabitants of the Gobi exhibition, including the (archetype of) mythical olgoi-khorkhoi, will move in next week. And of course, finished are all the additions, which illustrate the Gobi environment – including a replica of the rock carving I discovered near Chinese border two years ago in autumn. Please mark in your calendar that we will open this our new exhibit on Saturday, March 23. There is a lot to look forward to!