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More wild horses return to Russia

ORENBURG, Russia: October 26, 2017. Volga-Dnepr Group subsidiary Atran Airlines used a B737-400 freighter to deliver 16 Przewalski horses from Hortobágy National Park in Hungary to Russia's Orenburg Nature Reserve.

This is the third flight for the Joint Directorate of Orenburg and Shaytan-Tau Nature Reserves following deliveries of Przewalski horses in 2015 and 2016 from Hortobágy and the Tour du Valat conservation institute in Southern France.

Przewalski horses The 83.6 square mile Orenburg Nature Reserve is dedicated to the preservation and restoration of four separate types of steppe landscape in the Transvolga, Ural Mountains, Southern Urals and Trans-Urals. The city of Orenburg sits in the middle of the four sectors, roughly 750 miles southeast of Moscow.

Named after the Russo-Polish geographer and explorer Nikolay Przhevalsky, the horse is a rare and endangered subspecies native to the steppes of central Asia and remains the only true wild horse in the world. It is included in the Red Book of the Russian Federation, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora.

CITES, the U.N. body responsible for regulating the international trade in protected species, signed an agreement with IATA in 2015 that led to 40 major logistics organizations, NGOs, U.N. and government agencies sign the Buckingham Palace Declaration in 2016 to shut down routes exploited by wildlife traffickers.

To successfully deliver the latest batch of horses, Atran worked with Fly Concord on behalf of the Przewalski project organizers to help reintroduce them into their natural habitat.

Fly Concord general director Svetlana Berezina said: "Transportation of rare, wild and specially-protected animals is a serious responsibility for which a tailored approach and guaranteed performance to the highest standards are essential. This is what we get with Volga-Dnepr as a result of its extensive knowledge and expertise in moving special cargoes.

"Ultimately, it is expected that these Przewalski horses will breed and help to restore their presence on the Orenburg steppes for many generations to come," she added.

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