Gastrointestinal Parasite Community in a New Population of the Przewalski’s Horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) in the Orenburg State Reserve, Russia

Kuzmina, T. A., Zvegintsova, N. S., Zharkikh, T. L.



The Przewalski’s horse (Equus ferus przewalskii, Poljakov, 1881) is an endangered subspecies of wild horses (Equus ferus) native to steppes of Central Asia. In 2015, the Program of Establishing of a Semi-Free Population of the Przewalski’s Horse in the Orenburg Reserve was launched by FGFI “Orenburg Reserves”. The first group of 6 Przewalski’s horses (2 males and 4 females) born in the semi-reserve Le Villaret, France, was transported to the Orenburg Reserve. The aim of this work was to investigate the species composition of the intestinal parasite community and to monitor the dynamics of the parasite infection of the newly established Przewalski’s horse population. Th e level of infection by gastrointestinal parasites within the horses was examined by the McMaster method. Gastrointestinal parasites were collected in vivo after deworming of the horses with macrocyclic lactone drug “Univerm” (0.2 % aversectin C, PharmBioMed, Russia). Totally, 20 species of parasites were found: 19 species of nematodes (species of the family Strongylidae and Habronema muscae) and one species of botflies from the genus Gasterophilus. The widest species diversity (18 species from 8 genera) was observed in strongylids: 2 species from the subfamily Strongylinae and 16 species from Cyathostominae. Distribution of strongylid species between ten prevalence classes revealed a bimodal structure (“core–satellite” mode) of the strongylid community. The results obtained in this study are to be considered as the initial data for the further parasitological monitoring of Przewalski’s horses at the Orenburg State Reserve.