Horses have had an incredible effect on human growth to where it is today. Throughout the millennia, they have helped with everything from agriculture to transportation. There is one breed of horse that, depending on who you talk to, has never been domesticated. That is Przewalski's horse, a native of the central Asian steppes and the plains of Mongolia.
The horse is named after the Russian explorer, Colonel Nikołaj Przewalski. The horse is smaller and stockier than domesticated horses. The taxonomic relationship with domestic horses is still highly controversial, with some zoologists calling it its own species, while others call it a subspecies of the species Equus ferus. If we follow the American Society of Mammalogists, then both the Przewalski's Horse and the now extinct Tarpan (aka Eurasian horse) are subspecies of Equus ferus, with domestic horses named a separate species, Equus caballus. This connection makes sense as there are some significant differences between domesticated horses and Przewalski's horse. Przewalski's horses have one more pair of chromosomes than domestic horses. Their manes also stand errect, which is different from most domestic breeds. Their hooves are also longer in the front than domestic breeds, even feral domestic breeds, which helps significantly with being sure-footed.
In the early 1900's, 28 foals were captured and brought to Europe. They were distributed to various zoos and wildlife parks. Due to a number of factors, including war, some extremely harsh winters, competition with livestock, and hunting, the wild population of horses is shrinking. The horse was listed as "extinct in the wild" shortly after 1969, when only one stallion was seen in the wild. The entire captive population at this time consisted of 11 individuals that were descended from the original 28 foals captured in 1900, as well as one filly captured at a later date.
Through extensive breeding programs, by 1990 there were over 1500 horses again. although with significantly lower genetic diversity. In 1992, the London Zoological Society began reintroducing the horse back into its native ranges in Mongolia. Since then, numerous other populations have been established in other parts of their native range, including Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and China.
In 2008, the IUCN changed their status from "extinct in the wild" to "critically endangered." In 2011, they were changed again to "endangered." To help continue and introduce more genetic diversity back into the population, a stallion that had passed away in 1998 was cloned, with the baby being born in 2020. The new baby will be used to help pass on the stallions' genetic material, which was found to have unique genes.