The Tokara is a breed of pony native to the Tokara islands off the southwestern edge of Kyushu, Japan. The breed was discovered on Takarajima by Shigeyuki Hayashida, a professor at Kagoshima University, in 1952. Its origin is believed that the pony was brought to the island around 1900.
Hayashida counted 43 ponies and he named them the Tokara Pony. In 1953, the pony was designated a natural monument of the island. However, by the end of the1960s, the population declined due to mechanization. Some of the herd was exported to the Mt. Kaimon National Park and Iriki Farm for preservation.
In 1974, there was only one remaining Tokara Pony on the island of Tokara and it was transferred to Nakanoshima to be bred with other Tokara ponies. There is currently a breeding farm on Takao and the population has steadily increased to over 100 ponies.
The breed is small and therefore it is no longer used for working and has a limited use as a riding pony. There is a very small demand for the pony, so its future protection may by limited. Originally the pony was used in agriculture, sugarcane processing and riding.
It has a high tolerance to heat and stands between 39 to 47 inches high. The main color of its coat is seal brown.
Image Caption: Tokara Pony. Credit: Nagoya Taro/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)