Taronga's Tegus a horse of a different colour

THE 41st Przewalski’s horse foal to be born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo will play its part in bringing the species back from the dead.

Showing off almost three-week-old Tegus yesterday, zoo keeper Jackie Stuart told of a journey that began with an extinction classification in the 1960s.

Dubbo zoo staff have and continue to collaborate with zoos across the world in saving the wild horses of Mongolia.

A “gene pool” created by a mere 14 horses has led to their numbers growing to 1500 five years ago and 2000 today, 300 in the wild.

Dubbo’s award-winning zoo has helped boost the Przewalski’s horse population in zoos and the wild.

From five mares reintroduced in 1995 to the Gobi Desert in Mongolia as part of a world zoo herd of 50 animals, three generations have been born, totalling 18 individual horses.

Tegus, meaning perfect in Mongolian, had safely entered the world by the time zoo staff got to work on February 13.

She is the third offspring of Genghis, who with her sister produced two foals early last year.

Father Viktor is not part of the all-female and seven-member Przewalski’s Horse exhibit at the zoo where the skill of mothering is being passed down.

Ms Stuart calls Tegus inquisitive and playful, as evident when she gallops around the exhibit in the morning.

The zoo keeper most admires the foal and her kind for retaining their identity across 10,000 years.

“They are wild even though they have been in captivity for 40 years,” she said. 

Ms Stuart said Genghis occasionally came forward for a “scratch” but zoo staff knew better than to let down their guard.

“We always keep the barrier up and respect that they are potentially dangerous animals,” Ms Stuart said.

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