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Critically Endangered Horse Breeds

Rate this Article Horses have always played important roles in aiding humanity. However, did you know that there are around 177 horse breeds that are currently classified as being "critically endangered"? Let’s find out more about these horse breeds and how we can help our horses in return. Horse Games Online - Critically Endangered Horse Breeds

Horses have always been around since time immemorial… well at least ever since they have been domesticated by our Homo sapien ancestors for a variety of purposes ranging from being their main method of travel as well as for agricultural and military purposes. Although they no longer play such an important role in most humans’ lives (except for ranchers), the world population of horses haven’t been seriously affected.

Due to this, not many people, either horse-loving or non-horsey, would know that there are actually quite a number of equine breeds (approximately 177 breeds) with populations that are low enough to be listed as being at risk. Let’s find out more about these critically endangered horse breeds and how we can pitch in to help.

To clarify things before we start, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations offers several risk status to aid in the classification process of these equine species. The “Critical” risk status is one step up from the “extinction” status and is only given to pure horse breeds (genetically determined) that has less than or equal to 100 total number of breeding females or a total number of breeding males of less than or equal to 5. The total population of horse breeds have to be less than or equal to 120 and decreasing to qualify for the “critical” status. This clarification is important as there are other organizations that categorize critically endangered breeds differently.

That being said, out of the 768 horse breeds reported in the FAO Global Data Bank, 7% of horse breeds (which roughly translate into a whopping 62 breeds) are listed as “critical”. A huge majority of these critically endangered horses hail from Europe while only 7 breeds are from other continents. One of these critically endangered European horses is Przewalski's horse, or the only European wild horse left since the extinction of the Tarpans. Found exclusively in Mongolia, the Przewalski's horse is endangered due to hunting (by humans) habitat loss and competition for resources with domestic animals.

Furthermore, the Caspian that has a lineage which can be traced back to ancient Persia are critically endangered due to political turmoil in its country of origin, Iran. They was previous thought as extinct until an Iranian aristocrat rediscover them in 1965 and conservation efforts have been made to increase their numbers. Besides these 2 breeds, other more pronounced critically endangered horses include the Akhal-Teke horse breed, which is famed for its metallic coat colors; the Appalachian Purebred Gaited horse that is indigenous to Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountains; the national horse of Canada, the Canadian horse; Britain’s oldest indigenous horse, the Cleveland Bay; the Irish Draught, and Lippitt Morgan.

Out of those 62 breeds, only 10 breeds are conservatively maintained in hopes of getting its numbers up and rising. Due to lack of resources and/or awareness of the situation, the remaining 52 breeds of “critical” status breeds are continuing to decline. We, as humans, need to play our part and do something about it.

There are not a lot of horse-specific conservation organizations, but from what I could find, the Equus Survival Trust is possibly your best bet. The Trust has many conservation projects that help critically endangered equines, which include horses, ponies and donkeys. There is also The Livestock Conservancy which carries out conservation projects for livestock in general (including horses as well). By offering financial aid or even volunteering your time and energy, you could contribute to the conservation efforts and perhaps help save these special horse breeds for the future generations.

So, if you would like to pitch in and help out, please feel free to do so. Don’t forget to spread the news around and let your friends know about these critically endangered breeds. With more awareness, we can also help ramp up the conservation efforts and stop these amazing horse breeds from going extinct.

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