The Asian Wild Ass, once in wide existence, now finds itself on the brink of extinction. They are being squeezed out of their habitat by livestock that eat their food and water and also due to expanding farmland.
Body length: 200-250cm
Tail length: 30-49cm
(Source: Doubutsu Sekai-isan* Red Data Animals Kodansha) (*World Animal Heritage)
The Asian Wild Ass lives in the grasslands and deserts of Central and West Asia.
They travel long distances, searching for various kinds of grass to eat.
Most people associate a donkey with a slow moving animal, but the Asian Wild Ass is one of the fastest running asses in the horse family. They can run 70 kilometers or more per hour in short spurts.
Formerly in wide existence
The Asian Wild Ass was once considered to be among the largest population of ungulates (hoofed animals), along with horses, cows, camels, and deer. Herds of 1,000 or more Asian Wild Asses have often been observed in Central and West Asia. And, they are the fastest among wild horses. It must have been an exhilarating site to see them running through the desert and grasslands in such large numbers.
Losing food and water to livestock
Today, the Asian Wild Ass is on the brink of extinction. This is partially due to the expansion of grazing land. Livestock animals have taken over their grassland and watering areas. But it is also because of an expansion of farmlands which has shrunk their habitat and forced them to separate. No longer is it possible to see herds of 1,000 asses. Conservation efforts have helped them recover their population in some areas, but as a whole, the Asian Wild Ass is still an endangered species.
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