Out of the 600 Somali Wild Asses in the world, two of them were sent to our own Henry Vilas Zoo, earlier this summer.
These unique donkeys can live for up to 20 years. The Somali Wild Ass stands a staggering four-feet tall at the shoulders and weighs approximately 600 pounds in adulthood. The Wild Ass prefers to live in hilly deserts and fairly arid grasslands around Northern Ethiopia and Northwestern Somalia in Africa. In these lands, they feed on grass, shrubs, and various other plants.
Somali Wild Asses can run 30 miles per hour. This quick-moving species is gray with white bellies, and their legs have white and black stripes like a zebra.
As of 2011, there were about 200 individual Somali Wild Asses living in captivity in 34 zoos around the world. All subspecies of the African Wild Ass, including the Somali Wild Ass, are in danger. This means that they are at an extremely high risk of extinction.
To increase the population of this species, the Basel Zoo in Switzerland is breeding the Somali Wild Ass in a special breeding program. Even though there might not be many of these creatures left, they are still fascinating creatures to learn about!
[Sources: Wikipedia; TravelWisconsin.com; St. Louis Zoo]