Azerbaijan fights to protect national animal from extinction

Story highlights

  • The Karabakh horse is Azerbaijan's national animal
  • There are less than 1,000 Karabakh bred horses left in the world
  • The government is running a horse breeding programs to save the animal from extinction

(CNN)Tough, strong and noble; these are the sorts of qualities one would expect from a national symbol.

The fabled Karabakh horse is a rare and beautiful animal that is of great importance to Azerbaijanis.
    But the country's national animal that can be found everywhere from its stories to its postage stamps is faced with extinction.
    In the thickly forested foothills of Sheki, a small city 300km (187 miles) from the capital Baku, is one of world's largest and purest Karabakh herds.
    Their owner, Yashar Guluzade, has been restoring the breed for over a decade in this unspoilt mountainous region.
    He says that conflict and a difficult economic situation have led to their decline.
    "At the beginning of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict the horses were continually transferred from one place to another and this was one of the reasons for the s