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Tahi, a wonderful animal still roaming wild on our planet, is the only species of this particular wild horse. Once, in way back days, great herds of these wild horses grazed peacefully on the boundless steppes of Central Asia and Eastern Europe but, today, increased animal husbandry and extensive farming on vast land areas, added to the careless attitude of people, has caused the extermination of the last European wild horse, the 'Tarpan', during the 19th Century.

In the 1870s a renowned Russian researcher in Central Asia, Prjevalski (1839-1888), discovered the head bone and skin of an unknown animal and gave these to a Russian scholar named Polyakov. Comparing these unidentified finds with 22 species of other hoofed animals, in 1881, Polyakov found them to be completely different. The animal that most astonished the Russian researcher was the Tahi - ancestor to the present Mongolian horse. After this discovery, a campaign was started to remove Tahi foals from Mongolia, their native place, and by the 1970s these Tahi horses had completely disappeared from this country.

It has been speculated that the last Mongolian Tahi was seen in 1968. Researchers and hunters, paid by foreigners, used the most disgusting methods to capture many young Tahi foals. Although these wild horses were light weighted and could run lengthy distances at even and smooth speeds, between 4
and 10 young horse riders chased the Tahi herds over vast stretches causing the exhausted foals to fall victim to their tactics. Under normal conditions within the herd, when foals get tired the Tahi mothers stop running and try to push their babies to move further. When female Tahi are being isolated the male horses leave the herd and try to defend the females by attacking the hunters. When the males die from bullet wounds the female Tahi defend their babies. Many foals were caught in this barbarous manner whilst adult males and females were shot to death.

The drought experienced in Mongolia during 1944 and 1945 has seriously affected the number of Tahi herds and, since then, Mongolian and the Russian research expeditions have searched for the Tahi horses for more than 20 years but have failed to find any. These wonderful wild animals have disappeared from their native habitat although a small number can still be seen in zoos and parks in foreign countries, the genetic pool of these animals has been lost due to hemolytic disease (caused when animals from the same blood group are interbred) so that the entire Tahi species is at stake and in danger of vanishing from the animal kingdom forever. The only acceptable way to safeguard these animals from becoming extinct is to bring them back to their native habitat and, therefore, 84 wild horses were brought back to the beautiful Hustain Nuruu in Mongolia between 1992 and 2000, with financial assistance from the Government of Holland. Today herds of nearly 200 Tahi horses can be seen peacefully grazing in the Hustain Nuruu territory. Experts believe that these wild horses would be able to re-populate their natural environment without human assistance and that their number will reach at least 500.

Tahi mares become pregnant and carry their foals for 11 months and, after giving birth to the foal, the mare is ready for mating again in 7-14 months. Between 30 and 45 Tahi foals are currently being born each year in the Hustain Nuruu area and it would be wonderful if 50 percent were able to survive.
As mentioned above, purebred Tahi horses were preserved in zoos and parks in only very few countries. The Tahi Fund in Holland has purchased genetically pure Tahi horses from these zoos and parks and, after keeping them in the wild for two years these horses have been returned to their Mongolian environment. Despite being carefully watched and safely kept in specially protected areas, few of these horses were able to endure conditions in the wild and, of 16 Tahi horses returned to Mongolia during 1998, only 3 survived.


Every Tahi horse in the Hustain Nuruu area has a name. The oldest in the Tahi herd, a mare, was named 'Ayanga' /Thunder/. The previous President, N.Bagabandi, named one of the Tahi horses 'Narstai' /Pine/ and the famous Mongolian wrestling champion, B. Bat-Erdene, named another Tahi horse 'Avraga' /Champion/.

To name a Tahi horse foreigners are willing to pay USD 200 and Mongolians are happy to pay USD 100.

  • Facts about Mongolia 2000. by Da. Gandbold. ADMOND Co.Ltd., Mongolia.
  • Mongolia. Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd.
Photo. Hustain Nuruu Nature Reserve. Takhi horses (Przewalski's horse).

Photo. Hustain Nuruu Nature Reserve. Takhi horses (Przewalski's horse).

Photo. Hustain Nuruu Nature Reserve. Takhi horses (Przewalski's horse).

Photo. Hustain Nuruu Nature Reserve. Takhi horses (Przewalski's horse).

Photo. Hustain Nuruu Nature Reserve. Takhi horses (Przewalski's horse).

Photo. Hustain Nuruu Nature Reserve. Takhi horses (Przewalski's horse).

Photo. Hustain Nuruu Nature Reserve. Takhi horses (Przewalski's horse).

Photo. Hustain Nuruu Nature Reserve. Takhi horses (Przewalski's horse).



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