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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Reintroduction of Przewalski’s horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) in Xinjiang, China: The status and experience

Published source details

Xia C., Cao J., Zhang H., Gao X., Yang W. & Blank D. (2014) Reintroduction of Przewalski’s horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) in Xinjiang, China: The status and experience. Biological Conservation, 177, 142-147


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Provide supplementary food during/after release of captive-bred mammals Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A before-and-after study in 1985–2003 on a nature reserve in Xinjiang, China (Xia et al. 2014) found that following release of captive-bred Przewalski’s horses Equus ferus przewalskii into the semi-wild (free-roaming in summer, enclosed in winter and provided with food), animals reproduced and numbers increased. The first foals were born two years after the first releases. Over the following 11 years, 107 foals were born in the semi-wild with first-year survival of 75%. At this time, released animals formed 16 groups, comprising 127 individuals. From 2001–2013, eighty-nine horses from a captive-breeding centre were held in a pre-release enclosure (20 ha) for an unspecified period of time before being released into semi-wild conditions. Released animals roamed freely from spring to fall, but were kept in a coral in winter, to enable supplementary feeding and to reduce competition with domestic horse herders. The founders for the captive population were sourced from zoos in Europe and North America. The release site (and adjacent areas of Mongolia) were the last refuge of Przewalski’s horse, before extinction in the wild in 1969.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)

Use holding pens at release site prior to release of captive-bred mammals Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A before-and-after study in 1985–2003 on a nature reserve in Xinjiang, China (Xia et al. 2014) found that following release of captive-bred animals from a pre-release enclosure into the semi-wild (free-roaming in summer, enclosed in winter and provided with food), Przewalski’s horses Equus ferus przewalskii increased in number. The first foals were born two years after the first releases. Over the following 11 years, 107 foals were born in the semi-wild with first-year survival of 75%. At this time, released animals formed 16 groups, comprising 127 individuals. From 2001–2013, eighty-nine horses from a captive-breeding centre were held in a pre-release enclosure (20 ha) for an unspecified period of time before being released into semi-wild conditions (free-roaming except in winter, when enclosed). The founders for the captive population were sourced from zoos in Europe and North America. The release site (and adjacent areas of Mongolia) were the last refuge of Przewalski’s horse, before extinction in the wild in 1969. Released animals roamed freely from spring to fall, but were kept in a coral in winter, to enable supplementary feeding and to reduce competition with domestic horse herders.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)