This paper presents the results of a cost-benefit analysis of a conservation program for the Pentro horse. This horse breed has been reared for millennia in a Southern Italian wetland where it is now strongly tied to the traditions of the region, but presently faces extinction as only 150 horses have survived. Horse herds live in a wild state, characterising in a remarkable manner the landscape of the wetland. This results in a flow of social benefits that the market value of this breed fails to capture. The benefits from a conservation program for this currently unprotected local breed is estimated in a contingent valuation study, while a bio-economic model is used to estimate the costs associated with its in-situ conservation. The results show that this combined approach could be useful to support policy-making for conservation in regions with a long history of breeding domestic animals. Here the issue of allocating scarce funds to a large and growing number of economically not viable animal breeds facing extinction.