Somali Wild Ass - Quick Facts
The African wild ass or African wild donkey Equus africanus is a wild member of the horse family, Equidae. It formerly had a wider range north and west into Sudan , Egypt , and Libya. About individuals exist in the wild. The African wild ass is 2 metres 6. The short, smooth coat is a light grey to fawn colour, fading quickly to white on the undersides and legs. There is a slender, dark dorsal stripe in all subspecies , while in the Nubian wild ass E. The tail terminates with a black brush.
Somali wild ass
They usually form temporary aggregations groups and may stay together for anything between a day and several weeks depending on the resources available. The only bond is that of a mother and her foal. Adult males are usually solitary and tend to occupy large territories that are marked with dung heaps which is an essential marker in the flat and monotonous terrain. The dominant male will tolerate subordinate males within his territory as long as they recognize his superiority and stay away from any females.
Some other males will form bachelor herds until they are able to obtain their own territories.
Males reach sexual maturity at the age of two however, because they have to compete with other territorial males it is unlikely that they will breed until around 4 years of age. Dominant males will try to obtain a large territory which has within it a water source and a resource of grazing. Having this territory gives the dominant male exclusive access to mate with females passing through. The gestation period is one year after which a female will give birth to a single foal.
The foal will be able to follow their mother within a few hours after birth and are weaned by the age of one. They are predominately grazers feeding on a variety of grasses and herbs but they will also utilize browse. Their teeth are large with flat surfaces making them prefect for tearing and chewing the toughest of plants.
They also have a very tough digestive system that can break down almost inedible vegetation but at the same time extract and save as much moisture as possible.
They need to drink water at least once every three days and they will remain within 30 km of a water source. Somali Wild Ass are very stocky and they have a large head with large ears that are fringed with black hair. Their manes are stiff and upright and the tips of the hairs are black. They have a short coat which is grey in colour and it fades to white on the underside of their body and down their legs.
Their most distinctive feature is the black horizontal stripes that they have on their legs. They have a black stripe along their backbone and a tail also tipped with black hair. Their hooves are long and narrow which allow them to be surefooted in their rocky habitat.
They are an ancestor of the domestic donkey and have been captured for domestication for centuries. Interbreeding between wild and domestic species has caused a distinct decline in population numbers as well as being hunted for their meat and for use in traditional medicine in both Ethiopia and Somalia.
About individuals exist in the wild. The African wild ass is 2 metres 6. The short, smooth coat is a light grey to fawn colour, fading quickly to white on the undersides and legs.
The Somali wild asses have a soft gray body, white belly, spiky black-and-gray mane, and unique black- and-white stripes on their legs that also hint of their family connections! Their short, smooth coat has a purplish hue when the light hits it just right. The smallest of the equids and the only ass with striped legs, the Somali wild ass has small, narrow hooves that help the animal move quickly and safely through . The Somali wild ass is one of three subspecies (types) of African wild ass. Overall, the species is the smallest of the wild equids (horses, asses, and zebras). A typical African wild ass stands about four feet at the shoulder and weighs about pounds. The Somali wild ass is a type of African wild ass. It lives in the rocky deserts of northeast Africa. It is under threat from extinction (dying out).
There is a slender, dark dorsal stripe in all subspecieswhile in the Nubian wild ass E. The tail terminates with a black brush. The hooves are slender and approximately of the diameter as the legs. The genus Equuswhich includes all extant equines, is believed to have evolved from Dinohippusvia the intermediate form Plesippus.
Somali wild ass at Zoo Basel Though the species itself is under no threat of extinction, due to abundant domestic stock (donkey and burros), the two extant wild subspecies are Family: Equidae. The Somali or African wild ass lives in small herds in the hot desert grasslands of the Horn of Africa. One of the smallest of the true wild horses (equids) the Somali wild ass has striking grayish coat coloration with contrasting zebra-like fine, black stripes on their legs. Somali Wild Ass are very stocky and they have a large head with large ears that are fringed with black hair. Their manes are stiff and upright and the tips of the hairs are black. They have a short coat which is grey in colour and it fades to white on the underside of their body and down their legs.
One of the oldest species is Equus simplicidensdescribed as zebra-like with a donkey-shaped head. The genus appears to have spread quickly into the Old World, with the similarly aged Equus livenzovensis documented from western Europe and Russia.
Direct paleogenomic sequencing of a ,year-old middle Pleistocene horse metapodial bone from Canada implies a more recent 4. Asinusincluding the kulanonagerand kiangfollowed by the African zebras subgenera E. Dolichohippusand E. All other modern forms including the domesticated horse and many fossil Pliocene and Pleistocene forms belong to the subgenus E. Different authors consider the African wild ass and the domesticated donkey one or two species; either view is technically legitimate, though the former is phylogenetically more accurate.
About Somali Wild Ass. Somali wild asses are found in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Due to poaching and encroachment on their land by other herds, Somali wild asses are critically endangered - there are fewer than 1, left in the wild. Habitat. Native to the rocky desert of eastern Africa, Somali wild asses live in semi-arid bush, grasslands, and hilly deserts. Diet. There are two subspecies of the African wild ass. They are the Somali wild ass (E. a. somaliensis) and the Nubian wild ass (E. a. africanus). The Somali wild ass is the only ass with striped legs. Its small, narrow hooves help it move through its stony habitat. This surefooted design led to the domestication of Somali wild asses by the Egyptians more than 6, years ago! All wild asses have bristly upright manes like their zebra relatives.
The species name for the African wild ass is sometimes given as asinusfrom the domestic donkey, whose specific name is older and usually would have priority. But this usage is erroneous since the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature has conserved the name Equus africanus in Opinion This was done to prevent the confusing situation of the phylogenetic ancestor being taxonomically included in its descendant.
Thus, if one species is recognized, the correct scientific name of the donkey is E. The first published name for the African wild ass, Asinus africanusFitzinger,is a nomen nudum. African wild asses are well suited to life in a desert or semidesert environment.
Somali Wild Ass
They can also go without water for a fairly long time. Their large ears give them an excellent sense of hearing and help in cooling. The African wild ass is primarily active in the cooler hours between late afternoon and early morning, seeking shade and shelter amongst the rocky hills during the day.
The Somali wild ass is also very agile and nimble-footed, capable of moving quickly across boulder fields and in the mountains.
In keeping with these feats, its soles are particularly hard and its hooves grow very quickly. Mature males defend large territories around 23 square kilometres in size, marking them with dung heaps - an essential marker in the flat, monotonous terrain. Due to the size of these ranges, the dominant male cannot exclude other males.
Welcome To The Herd, Little Somali Wild Ass!
Rather, intruders are tolerated - recognized and treated as subordinatesand kept as far away as possible from any of the resident females. In the presence of estrous females, the males bray loudly. These animals live in loose herds of up to fifty individuals. In the wild, breeding of African wild ass occurs in wet season.
Wild asses can run swiftly, almost as fast as a horse. However, unlike most hoofed mammals, their tendency is to not flee right away from a potentially dangerous situation, but to investigate first before deciding what to do.
When they need to, they can defend themselves with kicks from both their front and hind legs. These have been suggested to represent onagersbut are now thought to have been domestic asses.
The African wild asses' diet consists of grassesbarkand leaves. Despite being primarily adapted for living in an arid climate, they are dependent on water, and when not receiving the needed moisture from vegetation, they must drink at least once every three days.
However, they can survive on a surprisingly small amount of liquid, and have been reported to drink salty or brackish water.
Though the species itself is under no threat of extinction, due to abundant domestic stock donkey and burrosthe two extant wild subspecies are both listed as critically endangered. African wild asses have been captured for domestication for centuries, and this, along with interbreeding between wild and domestic animals, has caused a distinct decline in population numbers.
There are now only a few hundred individuals left in the wild. This reserve was established in with the view to bolster populations of endangered desert species.
Populations of horses and asses are fairly resilient and, if the species is properly protected, it may well recover from its current low.
There are about individual Somali wild asses living in zoos around the globe, of which 36 were born at Zoo Basel where this species's breeding program started with Basel's first Somali wild asses in and the first birth in This article incorporates CC BY