Seminar on wild horses

“Insights from the pedigree on the social structure of free-roaming Konik horses (Equus caballus) in a Dutch reserve”

Prof. Amos Bouskila, Dept. of Life Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

When: 13.15 – 14.00, August 22

Where: Sal L, Education Centre (undervisningshuset), Ultuna, Uppsala, Sweden

Videolink will be arranged upon request.

Organizers:

  • Carl-Gustaf Thulin, Center for Fish and Wildlife Research, SLU
  • Margareta Steen, Swedish Centre for Animal Welfare, SLU
  • Anna Jansson, Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, SLU

Abstract

In the first part of the seminar I will describe the motivation for introducing Konik horses (Equus caballus) to reserves in the Netherlands, the success in terms of habitat management, but also the challenges that accompany this introduction. In the second part I will describe a study I conducted on Konik horses in one of the Dutch reserves the Blauwe Kamer. Knowledge of the genetic relations among individuals in a group may shed light on the social relationship within the group. We observed and videotaped behavior and movement of the 27 Konik horses that occupy this reserve. The parents of horses that were born on the reserve were determined through DNA and the pedigree was reconstructed. The social network was analyzed based on positive affiliation and proximity, after aggressive interactions were removed.

The comparison of harems composition to the pedigree revealed that the large group, which includes the oldest individuals, supplied young females that eventually formed the smaller harem. The comparison between social interactions and the pedigree revealed that at least two males attempted to mate with their own daughters. The only human intervention in the Blauwe Kamer Reserve is the occasional transfer of individuals into or out of the reserve. Our results can suggest slight modifications in the management of the horses to reduce the risk of inbreeding.

More information: http://www.cfw.nu/

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