A rare Przewalski’s foal has given a welcome boost to the endangered species, arriving into the world at Marwell zoo in Hampshire. Staff said they were “delighted” to welcome the colt, who has been named Basil after the first male Przewalski’s horse ever to live at the zoo.

Basil was born to parents Nogger and Speranzer and a spokesman for the zoo told Your Horse he was thriving since his arrival on 28 May and has been “soaking up his new found fame like a pro”.

The naming of Basil is a nod to Marwell’s 50th anniversary, which the zoo is celebrating this year. Basil senior was born in 1963 and joined Marwell in 1970 prior to the zoo opening in 1972, before moving on to San Diego Zoo.

Basil will go on to be an important part of the European Ex-Situ Breeding Programme to build numbers of the endangered breed, which was extinct in the wild from 1969 until 2008.

Przewalski horses are listed as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species with populations increasing thanks to breeding programmes.

In the mid 18th century, wild Przewalski’s horses would have been found from the Russian Steppes east to Kazakhstan, Mongolia and northern China.

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