Zookeepers at the National Zoo are saddened at the passing of Rolles, a 23-year-old Przewalski’s horse. The cause of Rolles’ death was euthanasia due to a nose tumor with poor long-term prognosis.
Rolles’ condition was first observed by the zookeepers in July due to a very obvious discharge from his nose. He soon developed a visible mass. The horse exhibited some discomfort and the tumor became larger. The location of the tumor, Rolles’ discomfort and the poor prognosis led up to the decision to humanely euthanize the horse.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species listed the Przewalski’s horse as extinct in 1996. There were small numbers of zoo-bred horses that were reintroduced to China and Mongolia where they bred successfully until, in 2008, the status of the Przewalsi’s horse could be changed to critically endangered. At this writing, it is estimated that there are approximately 1,500 Przewalski’s horses in breeding facilities and in zoos. There are perhaps several hundred horses in the wild.
An amazing story just occurred when Przewalski’s horse Anne foaled a first-ever baby from artificial insemination at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia on July 27. Also noteworthy is the 2008 first-ever reverse-vasectomy on a Przewalski’s horse.
The Przewalski’s horses have never been successfully tamed and are considered to be the last truly wild horses in the world.
Enjoy reading a short story about Rolles and his companion here.
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