Deer-vehicle collisions “are an unfortunate and often painful consequence of
having a thriving white-tailed deer population.


Sept 27, 2005


PZP Helping Endangered Species
Prezwalski Horses

The Prezwalski horse
(Equus przewalskii Poljakow) is an ancient species of wild horse that once lived in Mongolia. It is now thought to be extinct in the wild. According to Species Profiles "Prezwalski's horse is virtually extinct in its native Mongolian habitat because of overhunting and the spread of the human population... By 1879, Prezwalski's horses were already in danger of becoming extinct." Before these horses disappeared from the wild, however, some were captured and brought to zoos and refuges, where they have survived. A number of organizations are now attempting to re-introduce these rare horses into Mongolia.

Prezwalski's horses are small, the size of a pony; they are dun colored, with a dark dorsal stripe, that is, a stripe running down their back, and according to the above-mentioned source, they are "the only horse to have a stiff, brushlike mane" that is, a mane that stands up.

The horses shown in these photographs were preserved by a French non-profit organization known as the "Association pour le cheval de Prezwalski: TAKH." The photographs were taken by Pierre Goeldlin in southern France, in an area called Le Sambuc

This French organization planned to ship approximately 15-20 mares to the Mongolian Preserve in the summer of 2004. They temporarily contracepted these mares with PZP in preparation for the long trip since they did not want to transport pregnant mares for fear of stress related abortions. Irwin KM Liu, DVM, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis has supported these efforts, and indeed, the lab at UC, Davis donated the PZP with which the horses were inoculated.

Because zoos lack sufficient space to allow all of their animals to reproduce every year, they have used PZP, a reversible contraceptive, to limit reproduction Nevertheless, because baby animals are appealing and attract the public, at least in the past, some zoos permitted their animals to reproduce and then later sold the "excess" animals when they were grown. Some of these animals from zoos have ended up in canned hunts. Such practices have been severely criticized.

This use of PZP in helping to establish Prezwalski horses in Mongolia shows another aspect of the importance of having a reversible contraceptive.