Restoration of the eco-system
The Foundation Reserves Przewalski Horse (FRPH) developed a long term reintroduction program based on their experience of keeping Przewalski horses in semi-reserves in the Netherlands and Germany (IUCN/WWF project 3077). The aim was to build up a self sustaining population in the wild with a broad genetic variety and a well balanced sex ratio and age distribution.
In search for a suitable reintroduction area it became clear that rather undisturbed steppes, where the Przewalski horse belongs, are among the most threatened biotopes of Central Asia. Hustain Nuruu Mountain Steppe, a pasture reserve of the surrounding villages without settled inhabitants, was decided as most suitable, based on feasibility studies of the joint Mongolian-Russian Biological Expeditions. In 1990 the Central Province of Mongolia offered the Hustain Nuruu area for the reintroduction of the Przewalski horse and in 1993 the government endorsed the official status of Hustain Nuruu as a reserve. In 1997 this status was upgraded to that of National Park. In 2002 the UNESCO enlisted the Park as “Man and Biosphere Reserve”.
The reintroduction of the Przewalski horse offers the unique possibility to restore the natural ecological processes and to preserve an intact steppe ecosystem for future generations. Therefor the FRPH and the Mongolian Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment (MACNE) executed two projects jointly: the reintroduction of the Przewalski horse, which lasted ten years and the Biodiversity Project of the Hustain Nuruu Reserve, which started in 1993 and ended in 2004.
The main objectives of the Hustain Nuruu Biodiversity Project were:
- To help protect and restore the biological diversity of the steppe area of Hustain Nuruu.
- To increase conservation awareness in the local communities around the Park and in Mongolia, using the Przewalski horse as a flagship species.
- To develop a research and management framework for a successful establishment of a biodiversity reserve.
- To support MACNE with on-the-job training of the park staff and providing infrastructure.
- To establish an international field training and research station for ecosystem management
- To integrate Hustai National Park in regional and national development.
The Biodiversity Project was financially supported by the Directorate for International Cooperation from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a period of ten years from 1993 until 2004. The separate but well integrated reintroduction project was not subsidised. In 2004 a special Buffer Zone Project started for more than two years which was financed by the Dutch Government as well.