Skip to main content

African Wild Ass

Today we're going to learn all about the ancestor to the modern Donkey: the African Wild Ass. These members of the Equus genus were domesticated 6,000 years ago, and while Donkeys can now be found worldwide, their wild relatives have drastically dwindled in number.

Somali Wild Ass mare and foal in captivity
Though they were once found throughout the northern parts of the continent, African Wild Asses are now found only in scattered parts of Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, and Djibouti. They are regionally extinct elsewhere. The climate in these areas is rocky and arid, and the Asses have evolved to survive in dry climates. They can live through water loss that amounts to 30% of their overall body weight, and can rapidly gain those fluids back when water is available. African Wild Asses are most active during dawn and dusk, and they remain in the shade during the hottest parts of the day.

The Asses live in very loose herds that can number up to 50 individuals. The only strong attachments are between mothers and foals; the rest of the herd comes and goes based on the available supply of food and water. Adult males often hold on to large territories near water sources, and mate with females that come in to that range. The males actually mark their territory using dung heaps, which are excellent visual markers in flat landscapes.

The African Wild Ass in general, and two of its subspecies, the Somali and Nubian Wild Asses, are all listed as Critically Endangered. The animals have been hunted for food, and have been crossbreeding with domestic Donkeys for several millennia. They are also forced to compete for food against livestock. As a result of these threats there are only a few hundred left in the wild.

IUCN Status : Critically Endangered
Location : Northeast Africa
Size : 14hands (1.45m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Perissodactyla
Family : Equidae -- Genus : Equus -- Species : E. africanus

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Bornean Orangutan

The Bornean Orangutan is one of two extant Orangutan species in the world. It is the third largest primate (after Gorillas) and is the largest primarily tree-dwelling animal in the world. Males are substantially larger than females, and average at around 165lbs. Bornean Orangutans are largely solitary. A handful might live within a small range but they will seldom interact with one another. Males and females only meet up to breed, which happens only once every several years. A young Orangutan will stay with it's mother for about five years, and the females tend to go about eight years between births. That is the longest interim period of any animal! Sadly, the Bornean Orangutans are in a lot of trouble. They need large forests in order to thrive, and deforestation and habitat degradation has left many homeless. They are also hunted for meat and for traditional medicines. Conservation areas are being established to help these guys in the wild, and it is believed that there are a

Four!

For anyone who was counting, yesterday was our birthday-- four years! Four years filled with animals from A to Z, more than 1,100 of them! I can't thank my readers enough, it's been wonderful! And in celebration of that milestone... I'm taking a break. Hopefully not forever, but for a little bit at least. In the mean time I plan on getting a new layout out, along with some updates to some of the older articles. I'll post updates here and on the Facebook page, I'm also brainstorming some new animal-related projects, so keep an eye out! Thanks again for four awesome years!

10 Years?!

My goodness! It's been 6 years since I went on hiatus, and now more than 10 years since AaD was born, and what a world we've moved in to! Animal a Day is coming back- but in the meantime, check us out on Facebook, for your daily dose of #BIRDNEWS