A group from the last wild horses in the world they returned to their homeland Kazakhstan after an absence of about 200 years.

The seven horses, four mares from Berlin and a stallion and two other mares from Prague, were flown to the Central Asian country on a Czech Air Force transport plane, according to the Guardian

The wild horses, known as his horses Przewalski , once roamed the vast steppe grasslands of central Asia, where horses are believed to have first been domesticated about 5,500 years ago.

People are known to have been riding and milking horses in northern Kazakhstan nearly 2,000 years before the first records of domestication in Europe.

Human activity, including hunting the animals for their meat, as well as the construction of roads, which fragmented their population, drove the horses close to extinction in the 1960s.

Filip Mašek, a spokesman for the Prague Zoo, said: “These are the only remaining wild horses in the world. Mustangs are domesticated horses gone wild.”

The horses reintroduced to Kazakhstan come from two groups that survived in the Munich and Prague zoos.

“He was a bit dizzy coming back but he’s fine now. These horses must stand for the entire journey – they cannot sit, mainly because their blood needs to circulate properly. It’s a 30-hour journey in total, and the horses will only survive if they stand the whole way,” he said.

The return of the horses from the Prague Zoo it will help increase biodiversity in the area, Mašek said. “Horses spread seeds in their manure, and when they dig up plants, they help water get down into the soil. With their manure they also fertilize the steppe.

“To me,” he said, “the goal of a modern zoo is not only to protect and breed endangered species, but to return them to the wild where they belong.”

Prague Zoo director Miroslav Bobek said the arrival of the horses was “almost a miracle” given the relatively short preparation for the relocation and unexpected flooding in central Kazakhstan last month.

“This is the beginning of a whole new chapter in the history of the last wild horse on the planet,” he said in a press release.

In 2011, the Prague Zoo participated in a reintroduction of Przewalski’s horses to Mongolia. The project, which involved nine flights of horses, continued until 2019, when the population stabilized, Mašek said, adding that there are now about 1,500 of the wild horses in Mongolia.

Mašek said the plan was to move a total of 40 horses to central Kazakhstan over the next five years.

This first stage of horse reintroduction involved the Forestry and Wildlife Commission of the Government of Kazakhstan, the Prague Zoo, the Tierpark Zoo in Berlin, the Zoological Society of Frankfurt and the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan.