First Przewalski's Horse Born Via Artificial Insemination

Birth may be a breakthrough for the endangered species.

Anne, a Przewalski's horse living at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia, bonds with her new foal—the first Przewalski's horse born via artificial insemination.

The birth of a Przewalski's horse—the first in the world to be born via artificial insemination—is giving the once decimated species new hope. The filly was born July 27 at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia.

Przewalski's horses are rare and endangered wild horses native to Mongolia. They were declared extinct in the wild in the 1960s, but have since been reintroduced to Mongolia, China, and Kazakhstan. There are an estimated 1,500 Przewalski's horses in the world, most of which live in captivity.

The foal was born to a mare named Anne, a first-time mother who was raised at SCBI. Although Anne's pregnancy lasted 340 days, her filly's birth was a process nearly seven years in the making.

"They are not like our domestic horses," explained Budhan Pukazhenthi, a reproductive physiologist at SCBI. "We had to really start developing the infrastructure and a management plan to study this."