Wild horse

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Wild horse
Preszwalski-Pferde im Schnee.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Information
Phylum Chordata
Class Information
Class Mammalia
Order Information
Order Perissodactyla
Sub-order Hippomorpha
Family Information
Family Equidae
Genus Information
Genus Equus
Species Information
Species E. ferus
Subspecies E. ferus ferus (tarpan)
E. ferus przewalskii (Przewalski's horse)
Population statistics

Wild horse refers to a species of genus Equus, consisting of two subspecies: the tarpan, formerly of eastern Europe and extinct within relatively recent times; and Przewalski's horse of central Asia.

Przewalski's horse is yellowish to buff-reddish brown in color, with a black dorsal stripe. The mane is dark in color and stands stiff and erect. In build it resembles a standard pony, standing no more than 56 inches at the shoulder.

Przewalski's horse became known to the West after its late-19th century discovery in western Mongolia by the Russian explorer N.M. Przhevalsky. A rare animal even then, Preswalski's horse was declared extinct in the wild by the 1970s either through cross-breeding with feral domestic horses or through shooting to prevent grazing on farmland. European and American zoos kept the species alive, however, and by the late 20th century many of them were sent to Mongolia where they were released into the wild.

The tarpan, the horse which decorated cave walls in western Europe, survived until about 1900 in herds which dwindled in size as a result of human encroachment. Under the theory that crossbreeding with horses occurred, the Munich Zoo carried out selective "back-breeding" of animals known to have tarpan genes, succeeding in producing a breed that at best is "tarpan-like" enough to be exhibited in zoos as well as released to the wild in selected areas of Europe. The new tarpan is generally grey in color, with a non-erect mane, unlike the cave wall images which are similar to Przewalski's horse.