Home Foundation for the Preservation and Protection of the Przewalski Horse

Daily pattern

Przewalski horses are almost constant on the move through their home range. The size of a home range varies from 300 to 3200 ha. The biggest portion of wanderlust can be found in the bachelor stallions: they can counter distances of more than 22 kilometers a day. The size of the area, through which a group daily treks, depends on the time of season and is smallest in winter. The harems try to live in great distances from each other to avoid unexpected encounters and fighting. Only in winter these distances will shrink. Then other animals such as Mongolian gazelles and red deer (marals) will seek the company of the wild horses. This might probably strengthen them against wolf attacks.

drinkingIn summer they daily wander to their favourite spots of vegetation and preferred brooklets to graze and quench their thirst. They relax against the mountain ridges, high rockeries or in the woods to enjoy the refreshing breeze or to escape from stinging insects. In summer they preferably graze during the early morning and in the cool of the evening. At the hottest moment of the day and in the middle of the night they rest. At night they are very vulnerable, so one of them will keep vigil to alarm the others in case of danger. When it is getting cooler the groups tend to remain in valleys, where most of the brooklets are, and there is no reason to move a higher altitude. In spring, winter and autumn they use much more time finding the right edibles. During those seasons food quality diminishes considerably, so horses have to eat more and high-fibre food to remain in shape. Life gets more hazardous in the snow. The snow that fills the clefts is deep and the Przewalski's have to be very careful. A hoof may get stuck between the rocks. Fortunately, the often strong wind will clear much of the powder snow, revealing the succulent greens underneath.

Horses in the snowMongolia has a bad name because of its long winters, which last from October to May. Before winter sets in the Przewalski horses have to be in good condition. Study shows that the free roaming Przewalski's are at their best in October. The first signs of relapse occur in December. During the final month of the winter, May, they are at their worst. Pregnant mares are worse off than those are without foal are. In the first year after the arrival the condition is much worse than in the second year after. In the first year following the definite release from the acclimatisation areas the condition worsens somewhat, but it will steadily recover during the succeeding years. It takes a long time and much effort for the Przewalski horses to adapt to the different climate and living conditions in the wild.