The El Paso Zoo has welcomed Brianna, the Zoo’s first female Przewalski’s horse.

Brianna will soon join Vitalis, the Zoo’s male Przewalski’s horse, to become the Zoo’s first breeding pair of these endangered horses.

Brianna came to the El Paso Zoo from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. Born at the Bronx Zoo, she is eight years old and weighs approximately 775 pounds. The transfer comes as a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums whose Species Survival Plan works to conserve species such as the Przewalski’s horse through breeding and transfer plans. These plans are designed to empower accredited zoos, including the El Paso Zoo, to protect and breed endangered animals in order to save them from extinction.

Przewalski’s horses are the only wild, undomesticated horse remaining in the world. Their name, pronounced “shuh-VAL-skee” comes from Nikolai Przewalski, the 19th-century explorer who is credited with their discovery.

Through the collaborative efforts of Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited zoos and conservation partners, hundreds of Przewalski’s horses have returned to the wild. While there are still threats to the Przewalski’s horse’s survival, including climate change and encroaching private farms, active conservation strategies and breeding initiatives such as these will help ensure a stable, genetically-diverse population that will roam the wild for years to come.