A harem of takhi (Equus ferus przewalskii) was observed during introduction to the Hustain Nuruu Steppe Reserve of Mongolia between 1992 and 1996. The goals were to examine whether the harem exhibited significant behavioural synchrony, whether release had an effect on time budget, and what the implications might be regarding acclimatization to the wild. Behaviours were scan sampled every 10 min between 06:00 and 22:00 h, twice before release, twice immediately after release, and twice 2 years after reintroduction. Time budgets were constructed from these data. Considerable behavioural synchrony was evidenced both before and after release. Crepuscular grazing and midday resting were typical, regardless of the date relative to release. Upon release, the amount of time spent moving doubled for all age classes. It is suggested that this increase resulted from exploration. The amount of time spent grazing and standing remained unchanged; the increased amount of time spent moving came at the expense of resting. Two years later, the horses still spent more time moving than when captive. Somewhat less time was spent grazing, although the difference was not significant. More time was spent resting in 1996 than immediately after release. These time budgets provide evidence of successful acclimatization to the wild. Trekking between favoured sites could account for the persistent increase in time spent moving, with concomitantly less time needed to meet nutritional needs by grazing and more time available for resting. Housing captive takhi in large enclosures is evidently insufficient to permit the amount of movement exhibited by this wild harem. The time budget of the 1- and 2-year-olds was more similar to that of adults than foals, indicating approaching adulthood. That 1- and 2-year-olds were nursed, without loss of body condition by the dam, provided additional evidence that the takhi achieved excellent nutritional status in the wild.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||Department of Biology, Washburn University, Topeka, KS 66621, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org|
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