The Swiss behavioural ecologist, Claudia Feh, has spent the past decade raising the Przewalski horse, the world’s last truly wild horse, in France. Last September, she reintroduced the first of two groups of 12 Przewalski horses to the Mongolian steppes, their native habitat.
The Przewalski horse (Equus ferus przewalskii), or takh as it is known in Mongolia, is a close relative of the horses that roamed through central Asia, China and Western Europe in prehistoric times. Its large head capped by an upright bristly mane, looks strikingly similar to the horses in the 17,000-year-old cave paintings of Lascaux in South-West France.
Advanced knowledge of this horse and its behaviour will be of use to archaeologists who sometimes find their remains on prehistoric sites. However, Feh’s interests are set in the present. She is keen to establish good links between local nomads and scientists, who she hopes will come together and share knowledge in their support of the reintroduction of the horses. She plans to use at least some of her grant in a planned ‘interactive learning forum’ in a village in western Mongolia. This will be used as a base for her project.
This article is an extract from the full article published in World Archaeology Issue 9. Click here to subscribe