przewalski's horse causse méjeanprzewalski's horse
©przewalski's horse|BENOIT COLOMB

Przewalski's horses

Discover the world's last wild horse!

Come and see the last wild horse in the heart of the Causse Méjean: Przewalski’s horse.

Allabout Przewalski 's horses

Przewalski’s horse, the last wild horse

Przewalski’s horse is a subspecies of horse rediscovered by the Russian explorer Przevalski in the 19th century in Dzugaria, in the mountains bordering the Gobi Desert. It’s easy to recognize: with its massive appearance, strong neck and wild isabella coat characterized by zebra stripes on the limbs, it resembles the prehistoric horses painted on cave walls. Long thought to be the last horse on earth never to have been domesticated, a recent study suggests that it was domesticated 5,500 years ago by the Botaï culture (a late Neolithic culture in northern Kazakhstan) before returning to the wild.

A rare species

These horses had been known to the local population on the Mongolian steppes for centuries. After Przewalski rediscovered them, people slaughtered entire groups to capture a few foals and send them to zoos in Europe. Of the fifty or so individuals captured, only around thirty survived. As a result of this intensive stalking, individuals living in the wild became increasingly rare. Their last representatives were spotted in 1969, and their population was already in decline before the European hunt accelerated the process. After this date, the species was perpetuated by the few animals living in captivity.

The international backup program

An international rescue program was launched, and it was decided to separate the horses into isolated groups to prevent contagious diseases and inbreeding.

In France, the Takh association (the Mongolian name for the przewalski horse) has been working to preserve these equines and reintroduce them into their natural environment since the early 1990s. Individuals from various zoos were placed in semi-liberty on the Causse Méjean, at Le Villaret, where they prepared for life in the wild. In 2004 and 2005, the Takh association successfully reintroduced 22 of them into the buffer zone of Khar Us Nuur National Park, in Khomyn Tal, western Mongolia.

Today, the program to save the species continues, and the horses can still be seen at Le Villaret, where an exhibition room presenting them and the project is open during the summer.

Where to see



Head for the south-east of the Causse Méjean! Equipped with your binoculars, take the time to observe the Caussenard steppes in search of wild Przewalski’s horses.