Photo credit: Eyal Bartov
The African Wild Ass, Equus africanus, is listed as ‘CRITICALLY ENDANGERED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. The ancestor of the domestic donkey, this species once ranged across much of northern Africa, but now only occurs in scattered populations in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia, and possibly also in Djibouti, Sudan and Egypt.
The greatest threat to the African Wild Ass is hunting for food and traditional medicine. There are now estimated to be fewer than 200 mature individuals remaining in the wild, with no subpopulation numbering more than 50 mature individuals. Limited access to drinking water and forage is a major constraint to reproduction and survival in a desert habitat that has severe and recurrent droughts.
Although the African Wild Ass is legally protected in the countries where it is currently found, more effective protection measures need to be adopted. In Eritrea and Ethiopia, the involvement of local pastoralists in research and conservation programmes has been vital in sustaining African Wild Ass populations.
To learn more about the African Wild Ass, click here. Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.
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