Rare Cloned Wild Horse Joins Others Like Him at San Diego Zoo

by Tia Bailey
stock photo

The San Diego Zoo recently got a new addition. A rare cloned wild horse, Kurt, joins the zoo, and he serves an important purpose.

The Twitter account for the San Diego Zoo tweeted about Kurt a few days ago. They shared a video with the caption: “Happy hooves. Kurt—the world’s first successfully cloned Przewalski’s horse—is thriving at the Safari Park thanks to mentorship from his partner Holly. The two were successfully introduced in 2021 & are critical to restoring genetic diversity in remaining P-horse populations.”

Kurt was cloned with the DNA of a male Prezwalski’s horse that was preserved 42 years ago. Kristi Burtis, DM, director of wildlife care for the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, shared more about the horse.

“Przewalski’s horses normally live in groups where a youngster secures their place in the herd from their mother,” Burtis said to Fox 5 San Diego. “Because Kurt was not born into a herd, he didn’t know the behavioral language that is unique to Przewalski’s horses. Our first step to socialize him was introducing him to Holly.”

Holly was born in a pack of Przewalski’s horses, and grew up learning the language of the species. Initially, Kurt and Holly were in a secluded area of the park. They first began “sparring,” but now show affection to one another. Visitors can also now view the horses in their new habitat.

Prezwalski’s horses are officially extinct in the wild; the few that are left are surviving in zoos.

According to San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, the plan for Kurt is for him to become a breeder stallion when he is three or four years old. Officials say that Kurt is “significant to his species” in hopes of bringing them back.

Country Star Overcomes Lifelong Fear of Horses

Country singer-songwriter Thomas Rhett recently took to Instagram to open up to fans about one of his fears. Horses have “freaked out” the star for most of his life. However, he is changing that.

He shared a video of himself walking alongside a horse.

“I have been pretty freaked out by horses most of my life. Not really sure why. Maybe because they know I am a pretty high strung human being, and they can sense that haha. @laur_akins on the other hand grew up around them and now so have our kids,” he shared in the caption. “3/4 of my babies ride 2 or 3 days a week and so does my wife. Therefore, i need to get more comfortable around them. Today was the closest I’ve really been to a horse in my adult years and it was incredible. I plan to be around them a lot more often (I don’t know the lingo, I realize I’m slouching and I know I need more of a grip on the reigns).”

Fans praised Rhett in the comments for working towards getting over the fear for his family.