Queen wild horse wears high-tech satellite tracing collar

The collared leading horse returns to its population. Photo: Courtesy of Zhang Hefan

The Wild Horse Breeding and Research Center in Northwest China‘s Uyghur Autonomous Region on November 23 put a new technology-assisted satellite tracing collar on Junggar No.213 mare, dubbed “Queen” of the largest Przewalski‘s horse population.

The population was successfully reintroduced to the wild as its initial six horses grew to 19 after a little more than a decade.

The collar helps monitor the wild horse remotely with a video-shooting function and can drop automatically.

Przewalski‘s horse, one of the most endangered large wild animals in the world, is enlisted as one of China‘s “Class 1 Protected Species” and categorized as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species Working Group. There are approximately 2,000 in the world. Some 600 live in China with the rest living in the US and some western European countries.

Since daily activities of Przewalski‘s horse populations are decided by the leading horse, tracing its daily life is critical to monitor the activities of the entire group. The data acquired by the satellite collar shows Przewalski‘s horses‘ activity areas in different seasons. It provides scientific references to future Przewalski‘s horse wild-releasing activities and is an important basis for choosing releasing spots, according to the breeding center.

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China brought in 24 Przewalski‘s horses since 1985 from European countries and the US after the horse, originally from China‘ Xinjiang, went extinct in China in the 1970s due to poaching from some European countries such as Germany, France and the UK. 

After three decades of breeding, a total of 110 Przewalski‘s horses, from 16 different groups, have been released to the wild since China first returned the horse to the wild in August 2001.

Przewalski‘s horses in Sangequan area in Fuhai county of Northwest China‘s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Photo: Courtesy of Zhang Hefan

Wild horse protectors search for Przewalski‘s horses. Photo: Courtesy of Zhang Hefan

Przewalski‘s horse protectors put a satellite tracing collar on the leading horse. Photo: Courtesy of Zhang Hefan

A Przewalski‘s horse protector inspects Junggar No.213 mare, the Queen, after putting a satellite tracing collar on its neck on November 23. Photo: Courtesy of Zhang Hefan

Newspaper headline: Tracing the hoofsteps


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