Ukraine war is keeping Misha from leaving Minnesota for Russia

Misha is a critically endangered Przewalski’s wild horse born at the El Paso Zoo in 2018. For the past three years she has been waiting for a trip to Russia to be released into the wild, but the project has been canceled because of the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Over the past twelve years the El Paso Zoo and Botanical Gardens has been very successful in breeding critically endangered Przewalkski’s wild horses. The Zoo had hoped to be able to support a reintroduction effort by sending a 4 year old horse born in El Paso to the wilds of Asia where the species went extinct in the 1960s. Unfortunately the war in Ukraine has forced the zoo to cancel the conservation effort.

Misha at the Minnesota Zoo

The El Paso Zoo in a partnership with the Minnesota Zoo, San Diego Zoo, the National Zoo in Washington D.C and the Wilds in Ohio had made plans to ship eight wild horses born at each zoo to the Orenburg Reserve in Russia near the Kazakhstan border in central Asia. The wild horses also known as takhis were set to be flown to Russia after delays caused by the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. As a result of the war between Russia and Ukraine the new goal is finding permanent homes for the horses in other zoos.

Just recently on September 20 a third foal was born at the El Paso Zoo to Vitaly and Brianna. It is hoped that the war in Asia will end soon and that a cooperative effort to help save the species with horses born in the US will be able to resume. Thanks to zoos and private collections reintroduction efforts have been successful with a little over 500 Przewalkski’s wild horses now living in the wild.

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