A Profound Decline in Population
Most Bedouin are now settled, and few continue to breed horses as their ancestors did. Although Western breeders produced more Desert Arabians during the 20th century than ever existed in their homelands, breeding has plummeted due to changes in the use of the horse as a recreational companion, urbanization, and economic adversity.
In North America, annual foal registrations have declined 50 percent in just 25 years (from 1400 Desert Arabians in the mid-1980s to fewer than 500 in 2014). Fewer than 1000 foals are born each year on other continents, including those in the original areas of Bedouin migration. More than 80 percent of all Desert Arabian foals derive from fewer than 100 Desert Arabians that were taken to Egypt between 1800 and 1950. The other 20 percent represent diversity found from the far north (now Syria) to the south (Saudi Arabia).
The Last Chance to Save This Precious Gene Pool
It is therefore critical for this comparatively small gene pool to be maintained through coordinated effort if a healthy level of diversity is to be retained for the future.
The Institute for the Desert Arabian Horse supports scientific research and collaborative breeding efforts internationally with the goal that 95 percent of the current genetic diversity will be available in 100 years.
The magnificent horse developed over millennia by the Bedouin will otherwise be lost for all time.
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