FYI: The San Francisco Zoo Just Welcomed Two Rare AF Horses

While there’s only one of Beyoncé’s Disco Horse (a.k.a “Reneigh”), there are estimated to be less than 2,000 Przewalski’s horses left in the entire world.

San Francisco Zoo is among the most venerable zoological facilities on this side of the Mississippi; it also happens to be incredibly picturesque, located within a stone’s throw of Ocean Beach. Since opening in 1929 — a result of Golden Gate Park’s then-present animal exhibits needing to be relocated elsewhere — the wildlife park remains a touchstone for biophilia. 

The SF Zoo, too, holds several critically endangered animals, like a flock of Waldrapp Ibis, black rhinoceroses, and, as of recently, a pair of Przewalski’s horses.

Also known as the Asiatic wild or Mongolian wild horse, the horse species is listed as critically endangered; the rare equine is has now been extinct in its native Mongolia more than 40 years ago. Strides (pun intended) to bolster the only surviving subspecies of wild horses left on the planet have experienced various degrees of success; as of publishing, there are only 16 accredited zoological parks in North America that house these horses.

The San Francisco Zoo is now in that elite and exclusive club.

 “This marks the first time we’ve had Przewalski’s horses in SF Zoo’s history, which spans nearly 95 years,” said Tanya M. Peterson, CEO & Executive Director of San Francisco Zoological Society in a press release. “We are excited to share the comeback story of this historic but little-known wild horse species, which in the Mongolian language is called ‘takhi,’ which means ‘spirit’ as they are revered by Mongolians. 

As of publishing, there are just 2,000 of these horses believed to exist — so suffice it to say that the future of this species is still precarious… at best.

 According got the zoo, Przewalski’s horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) was named after Russian geographer and explorer, Nikolai Przewalski, who first identified the species scientifically in the 19th century. It is pronounced “SHUL-VAL-SKEE” and is commonly referred to as the “P horse.” 

Smaller than most horse species, they can be pinpointed by their reddish-brown coat, squat body, large head, and thick neck with a dark upright mane and a dark stripe that runs down their back. They can weigh between 550 to 800 lbs; for comparison, most domestic horses weigh somewhere between 1,200 and 2,200 lbs.

The female pair, 17-year-old “Solongo,” who was born at the Canyon Colorado Equid Sanctuary, and 22-year-old “Bajkit” born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, will live temporarily in a stable and field which previously housed other hoofstock by Bear Country, and will eventually be part of a future Asian conservation zone at the zoo.

Here’s hoping that much like Queen Bee’s trusted, reflective stead, SF Zoo’s two Przewalski’s horses will defy the odds and not let human-caused extinction-level events break their souls. 

Feature Image: Courtesy of San Francisco Zoo

Leave a Reply