For the first time in the history of the Miami Zoo, a critically endangered Somali Wild Ass was born. This celebrated event took place late this summer.
The Somali Wild Ass is critically endangered with only a few hundred left in the wild. Something as simple as a drought could be enough to wipe out the species completely.
The female foal was named “Hani”, which means happy or full of joy in Somali.
The Somali wild ass is the last remaining ancestor of the modern donkey. They are the smallest of the wild equids and are found in the rocky deserts in very isolated areas of Eastern Africa.
The adults weigh approximately 500 pounds. The mares usually give birth to a single foal after a gestation of 11 months.
The Somali wild ass are characterized by their smooth gray coat and their striped legs which are indicative of their close relation to zebras.
Play behavior appears to be important in the development of this species, which might serve many functions later in life.
What has been learned is that the Somali wild ass is an amazing social animal. They have associations within the herd that remain consistent, and those associations are reflected in their behavior.
All the adult Somali animals are on loan to the Miami Zoo and other zoos by the San Diego Wild Animal Park.
They state that any information learned about this species can benefit their reproduction within zoological facilities and conservation in the wild.
They are part of a carefully planned captive breeding program, which is designed to maintain healthy populations of these extremely rare animals for generations to come.
Re-written from news sources:
San Diego News
NBC Miami News
Photos: Ron Magill