Asian Wild Ass 
Asian Wild Ass
Asian Wild Ass
Scientific Name:
Equus hemionus
Other Names and/or Listed subspecies:
Onager, Equus spp.
Status/Date Listed as Endangered:
EN-IUCN: 2008
EN-US FWS: June 2, 1970
Area(s) Where Listed As Endangered:
China, India, Iran, Mongolia, Turkmenistan

The Asian wild ass is a horse species that has relatively short legs. It is a mammal belonging to the family Equidae. The Asian wild ass is a local inhabitant of the xeric mountain and desert steppes of Mongolia, Russian Federation, northern China, Central Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, Middle East and Asia Minor among other areas. Among the several ass species, the Asian wild ass has the greatest resemblance to a horse. The color of its coat changes according to the season whereby during winter it is usually light brown in color and during summer the coat turns to reddish-brown. Most are white in color on the ventral side, the muzzle and the buttocks with the exclusion of the Mongolian wild ass. It possesses a black stripe on the upper side that is broad and adjacent to white parts. It stands approximately six to eight feet tall and weighs about 450 to 570 lbs.

The Asian wild ass is primarily a grazer but also practices browsing, depending on the availability of food. It mainly feeds on grass when it occurs in plenty. As a supplement, the Asian wild ass also feeds on shrubs. It needs plenty of fresh water to survive but may stay for up to four days without water depending on the environmental temperature. The Asian wild ass lives in semi-desert and desert plains, steppes, and mountain steppes. It can also live in hill country but is observed to avoid steep terrains. Its movement is described as nomadic since it is very mobile and moves to many different places in search of water and pastures. Its movement does not follow a pattern. The Asian wild ass breeds seasonally. After a gestation period of about 11 months, a single young is born. Giving birth peaks between April and September. A female bears a single young (foal) every three years. The foal attains sexual maturity at the fith year. An Asian wild ass can live for up to 40 years.

Threats to the Asian wild ass include hunting and killing for hide and meat, high competition for water, pasture and area of occupation, environmental degradation, intensification of human activities, and grazing areas fragmentation. The estimated global population of free ranging specimens is about 55,000 individuals. Studies assert that this population could fall drastically, hence the need to do much to conserve the species. Attempted conservation actions which have helped are legal protection throughout its entire range, all the subspecies are listed on CITES Appendix I or II, and also on Annex A of EU Wildlife Trade Regulations. There has also been establishment of protected areas in places where the species occurs and reintroduction into its native range.

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Wikipedia Article
Copyright Notice: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Onager".

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