Learn about the African wild ass - an endangered ancestor of todays domesticated donkey.
This unfortunately named species may be the butt of a few jokes, but the African wild ass is a noble predecessor to our domestic donkey. For today’s Wildlife Wednesday, learn why this animal’s numbers in the wild have been on a downward spiral since their domestication 6,000 years ago. Habitat: some grassy desert regions of northern Africa, including Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia Trivia
Why they’re threatened Fewer than 600 African wild asses remain in the wild. Three main threats have led to this creature’s critically endangered status.
Civil disputes in Ethiopia and Somalia haven’t helped matters, with the increase in firearms leading to more hunting. Fortunately, African wild asses have been doing pretty well in captivity. A record number of Somali wild asses were recently born at the Saint Louis Zoo; one proud papa named Abai fathered five foals that look equal parts awkward and adorable.