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High-Tech Solutions for Preserving the Wild Horses

In the area of Hortobágy, artificial intelligence is used for saving the endangered Asian wild horses. Researchers from the UD apply drones to examine the way of life of Przewalski’s horses living on the premises of Hortobágy National Park. The data received then processed with Microsoft’s Azure.

There are quite a few endangered animal species living in Hungary; perhaps the best known of them is the great bustard, the bird in the emblem of Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület [MME Birdlife Hungary]. Unbeknownst to most, Hungary is also home to the biggest population of wild horses in the world. Hortobágyi Nemzeti Park contains a natural preserve area at Pentezug, which is not accessible for visitors and is the habitat of 300 Przewalski’s horses, a breed of which there are altogether around 2000 in the entire world. These wild horses, which had frequently been the models for prehistoric cave drawings, were present in huge numbers centuries ago primarily in Asia, in the steppe regions of present-day China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. However, there have also been bone findings of Przewalski’s horses recovered even in certain parts of France as well. Nevertheless, as nomadic tribes used to exterminate this species without mercy, their last specimen at large was seen in Asia in 1968.







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These days, it is to their original habitat, i.e. Mongolia, that the wild horses are getting relocated from Hungary. This development is possible thanks to the successful domestic breeding program of several years. Between 1997 and 2001, there were only 22 founders arriving in Hortobágy, whereas today, there are approximately 30 harem groups of various sizes, which seem to gradually saturate the reservation area of 3000 hectares. A considerable part in this success has been played by the cloud technology based on artificial intelligence, which was originally provided by Microsoft for the conservationists and researchers to use. Hortobágyi Nemzeti Park, the Department of Evolutionary Zoology and Human Biology of the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Debrecen, and Microsoft joined their efforts three years ago, in 2018, for the first time to save the wild horses.







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Széchenyi