Winner of a Rolex Award in 2004 for her project to set up a centre in Mongolia for exchanges between the local people and scientists about the reintroduction of Przewalski horses, Claudia Feh has held her second annual forum devoted to the world’s last truly wild horse.
For a week in September 2006, about 500 members of the local nomadic communities and experts from Ulaan Baatar, along with Patricia Moehlmann, the chair of the Equid Specialist Group of the IUCN, and French ethnologist Marie Bourjade, met at Feh’s training centre at Khomiin Tal, in western Mongolia.
The programme included lectures on the evolution of the horse over the past 50 million years, the social structure of Przewalski herds and the horse’s reintroduction into Mongolia. Participants were also given a practical demonstration, by the country’s leading veterinary surgeon, of treatments for horses using traditional acupuncture – “a session the nomadic horse-breeders were particularly interested in”, according to the Laureate.
In 2004, Claudia Feh, a renowned specialist on horse behaviour, reintroduced, at Khomiin Tal, nine Przewalski stallions and 13 mares that had been reared in France in semi-liberty – an innovative method that allows them to establish similar social structures to those followed by horses living in the wild.
In other developments, on 22 May 2006, “in the middle of a snowstorm”, one of the mares gave birth to the first foal born in Mongolia since the reintroduction. “Unfortunately, he [the foal] got hypothermia very quickly, a frequent cause of death among horses in this country’s harsh climate,” says the Laureate.
But she adds: “All the same, this birth has confirmed that, thanks to the strong social links they’ve managed to develop over time, these horses have overcome the stress caused by their reintroduction into Mongolia and are now ready to enlarge the herd.”Learn more about Claudia Feh