The Khustai National Park (also known as Hustai or Hustain) was created specifically to re-introduce the Mongolian wild Takhi (Przewalski) horse to the country. This particular wild horse originated in Mongolia around 1960 but became extinct in the wild. Fortunately, a few zoos in the west managed to maintain this species; In 1977, the world only had 300 of these horses, all in captivity. Until in 1992 the Khustai National Park was made especially for the horses to be free again and to be able to live in the wild.
Horses from the Netherlands
The Netherlands played an important role; The Przewalski horses that are set free here have been brought here by the Dutch organization FPPPH (Foundation for the Preservation and Protection of the Przewalski Horse). In collaboration with the Mongolian organization Macne, the 15 first horses were transported to the steppe in 1992. Between 1992 and 2000, five transports followed with a total of 84 Przewalski horses. Thanks to this project more than 320 wild horses live in this park and 95% of them are born in Mongolia.
The park is located just 100 kilometres southwest of Ulaanbaatar, a drive of approximately 2 hours. There are only two accommodation sites in the park, but outside the park boundaries you find several ger camps. The horses are not always found easily, sometimes a good guide has to look very good for any of the approximately 32 herds. The best time to see them in the wild, is in the early morning or in the evening when the animals go looking for water.
Khustai National Park not only houses the Takhi horses. Raptors, wolves, deer, gazelles and other animals can be found here as well. Especially admirers of birds (223 species) and plants (251 species) can have fun here.