Staff at Marwell Zoo are celebrating four new additions to a herd of previously extinct wild horses. 

The endangered Przewalski’s foals, which are all female, can be seen grazing and playing together under the watchful gaze of their mothers.

The births have  been heralded as great news for the future of the entire species. 

(Image: Marwell Zoo)

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Erin Luter, Animal Keeper, Hoofstock, said: “All of the foals are doing well and can often be seen laying or sunbathing in the valley field close by the rest of the herd.

“These horses, that were previously listed “Extinct in the Wild”, are an example of how zoo breeding programmes can help restore threatened species around the world.

“Thanks to breeding programmes like ours at Marwell they can now be found in reintroduction sites in Mongolia and China and have been downlisted to Endangered.”

The first foal was born to mother, Lena, on May 3. She's named Xaela which means mystical or fierce in Mongolian.

The second foal was born to mother, Tsetseg, on May 11 and is named Shara after a mountain in Mongolia.

The younger two foals were born just one day apart with Bilüü arriving to mother Tuya on June 12 and Ereen born to Speranza on June 13. Their names are both cities in Mongolia.

(Image: Marwell Zoo)

Przewalski’s horses, which come from China and Mongolia, are the last surviving sub-species of truly wild horse in the world.

All four foals will play an important role in ensuring the ex-situ conservation of their species for future generations.

Przewalski’s horses were extinct in the wild for almost 40 years between 1969 and 2008 due to hunting, cultural and political changes, climate change and military activities.

Current estimates suggest there are 178 mature individuals living in the wild and the population is increasing.

In the wild they live in groups of between six and 17 animals with a stallion, mares, foals and young up to around two years of age.

All the Przewalski’s horses alive today are descended from just 12 individuals.

Marwell's new foals can be found with the rest of the zoo's Przewalski’s horses in the Valley Field, which is opposite Café Graze.