Zoo Miami is celebrating the birth of a critically endangered Somali Wild Ass. The male foal arrived July 23 and is the 5th of his kind born at Zoo Miami. New mom is 17-year-old Lisha. The new baby is healthy and seems to be integrating well into their small herd.
Somali Wild Asses are the world’s most endangered Asses. They are classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, and less than 1,000 are believed to still exist in the wild.
A subspecies of the African Wild Ass, they are the smallest of the wild equids and are found in isolated areas of Somalia, the Southern Red Sea region of Eritrea, and the Afar Region of Ethiopia.
They are shorter than zebras or horses but have larger ears. Adults weigh approximately 500 pounds. Their smooth gray coat and their striped legs, which are indicative of their close relation to zebras, characterize them.
Mares usually give birth to a single foal after a gestation of 11 months. Though small herds, usually made up of mares and their offspring, do exist, the Somali Wild Ass often lives alone because of the scarcity of food. Solitary stallions protect their territory, which often includes a water source. Larger groups may form when more food and water is available (usually during the rainy season).
Zoo Miami began exhibiting the highly endangered Somali Wild Ass in 2011. All adult animals are on loan from the San Diego Wild Animal Park and arrived at Zoo Miami as part of a carefully planned captive breeding program designed to maintain healthy populations of these extremely rare animals for generations to come.
More amazing pics, below the fold!