Attica’s Zoological Park family is getting bigger. An atmosphere of joy prevails in the park as its youngest member, a male Somali Wild Ass, was born on December 21st 2010.
Attica Zoological Park hosts 5 Somali Wild Asses, 3 males and 2 females which both became mothers in the year 2010. These births themselves are of vital importance since these interesting animals are critically endangered, facing an extremely high risk of extinction. Only 500 individuals are still left in the wild!
In Somalia and Ethiopia Somali Wild Asses are still hunted for food and for use in traditional medicine. This is the reason why they are part of AZP’s breeding programs. AZP is actively involved in 17 EEPs (European Endangered Species’ Programs), whose aim isthe demographic analysis and genetic enrichment of endangered species, so as to achieve the correct species management within the EAZA network. It is sad to know that the next generation will only be able to admire this species in zoos. But it is the only way for the survival of the species, which is an important prerequisite for its future re-introduction in the wild, aiming in the overall protection of the circle of life.
The Somali Wild Ass is believed to be the ancestor of the domestic donkey and it is found in rocky areas in Somalia, Ethiopia and Erithrea. It is bigger and stronger, yet also a herbivore.The legs of the Somali Wild Ass are marked with black stripes, resembling those of another close relative, the zebra. On their neck there is a stiff, upright mane, the hairs of which are tipped with black. The ears too have black margins. A black brush also highlights their tail. The hooves are slender and approximately the diameter of the legs. Its voice is of great importance for its survival, since it can be heard at a distance of over 3kms, which helps it both to communicate and keep in contact with other individuals of the same species, as well as to defend its territory by ‘amplifying’ its presence.