Przewalski’s horse was considered extinct in the wild until 1996, but due to successful reintroductions, the population currently consists of more than 50 wild mature individuals.
Przewalski’s horse was previously listed as Extinct in the Wild (EW) on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species from the 1960s up to the assessment in 1996. The species was then reassessed as Critically Endangered (CR) due to at least one surviving mature individual in the wild.
In subsequent years the captive population increased, and since the 1990s reintroduction efforts have started in Mongolia and China. Mongolia was the first country where truly wild reintroduced populations existed within the historic range. Reintroductions in Mongolia began in the 9,000 square-kilometer Great Gobi B Strictly Protected Area in the Dzungarian Basin and the 570 square-kilometer Hustai National Park in Mongol Daguur Steppe in 1994. A third reintroduction site, Khomintal, a 2,500 square-kilometer area in the Great Lakes Depression, was established in 2004, as a buffer zone to the Khar Us Nuur National Park in Valley of the Lakes. Releases began in the 17,330 square-kilometer Kalamaili Nature Reserve, Xinjiang Province, China in 2001 and in the 6,600 square-kilometer Dunhuang Xihu National Nature Reserve, Gansu Province, China in 2010, although almost all of these animals are corralled and fed in winter. Further reintroduction sites are planned in Kazakhstan and Russia.
Successful reintroductions have qualified this species for reassessment. The population is currently estimated to consist of more than 50 mature individuals free-living in the wild for the past seven years. Przewalski’s horse now qualifies as Endangered (EN) under Criterion D.