Nubian wild ass

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Nubian wild ass
Bonaire's Critically-Endangered Nubian Wild Ass.jpg
Conservation status

Critically endangered, possibly extinct in the wild (IUCN 2.3)[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Equidae
Genus: Equus
Species: E. africanus
Subspecies: E. a. africanus
Trinomial name
Equus africanus africanus
(von Heuglin & Fitzinger, 1866)[2]

The Nubian wild ass (Equus africanus africanus) is a subspecies of the African wild ass, and probably the ancestor of domestic donkeys,.[3] The ass was domesticated about 6,000 years ago, probably in Egypt or Mesopotamia.[citation needed]

The Nubian wild ass is most likely extinct in the wild since the 1950s.[citation needed] However, the IUCN Red List [1] still mentions it as critically endangered. It is closely related to the Somali wild ass,[citation needed] which is also on the brink of extinction in the wild.

In 2014, blood samples from four individual wild donkeys from the island of Bonaire were sent to the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences at Texas A&M University to have Mitochondrial DNA sequencing done to determine the identity of this species. The tests results were conclusive that the donkeys "had perfect match to haplotypes of historic Nubian Wild Ass" and that "this result indicates that the Bonaire donkeys are direct descendants of the Nubian." Full 5-page report here:[4] Wildlife Ecologist, Member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission and President of the Andean Tapir Fund/Wild Horse and Burro Fund, Craig C. Downer has urged in a letter dated March 6, 2014, to the Honorable Governor of Bonaire that the government of Bonaire protect the donkeys as a Critically Endangered (CR) subspecies. Downer's letter:[5] In addition, expert biologist, Robert C. Bauer also wrote a letter to the Bonairean government illustrating the importance of the wild donkeys to the natural ecosystem there. Like Craig Downer's letter, it explained in detail the very important ecological niche that is filled by the wild donkeys. Bauer's letter here:[6] To date, no action has been taken by the government. Male donkeys are currently being captured, tagged and castrated by the "Donkey Sanctuary of Bonaire" and released, pregnant females are being held captive and young males castrated, under contract with the local government. Local organizations are being formed to save the species. The "Citizens For a Better and Safer Animal-Friendly Bonaire" organization called upon Mr. Downer who traveled to Bonaire July 2014 to conduct additional research. Craig Downer's highly detailed statement was presented to government decision-makers. Read here: [7] The Bonairean government has still not stopped the castrations.

On October 23, 2014 after worldwide and local pressures, the Governor of Bonaire put a temporary halt to the donkey castrations for the period of 6 months, by letter to the Donkey Sanctuary of Bonaire.[8] Local conservation groups on Bonaire report that Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire continues to capture female donkeys and their offspring to be held in captivity.[citation needed]


The Nubian wild ass is known for its stamina.[citation needed] It has a slender body and a stripe across the shoulder.[citation needed] Its head is rather large, with two long slender ears.[citation needed] The shoulder height of the Nubian wild ass is about 120 centimeters.[citation needed] Skin color varies from light brown to gray.[citation needed]


Nubian wild asses used to live in the northeast of Africa,[citation needed] ranging from mountains and rocky areas to semideserts and grasslands.[citation needed] Feeding occurs during the night and early morning.[citation needed] The diet includes grasses and types of forbs.[citation needed] During the heat of day, the Nubian wild ass takes refuge in the shade.[citation needed]


Males tend to live alone or in small groups.[citation needed] Females and young animals live in herds.[citation needed] There is no strict hierarchy in the herd, and when fights erupt, the animals kick and bite each other.[citation needed]


After almost a year of gestation, the female typically gives birth to one foal.[citation needed] The mother and foal separate themselves from the herd until the foal is able to recognize its mother.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Equid Specialist Group (1996). Equus africanus ssp. africanus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 18 May 2008.
  2. ^ (German) Heuglin Th. v & Fitzinger L. J. (1866). "Systematische Übersicht der Säugethiere Nordost-Afrika’s mit Einschluß der arabischen Küste, des rothen Meeres, der Somáli- und der Nilquellen-Länder, südwärts bis zum vierten Grade nördlicher Breite. Von Dr Theodor v. Heuglin. Nach brieflichen Mittheilungen und den Original-Exemplaren des Herrn Verfassers ergänzt und mit Zusätzen versehen von dem w. M. Dr Leopold Joseph Fitzinger". Sitzungsberichte der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Abt. 1. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse 54: 537-611.
  3. ^ Wynne Parry, Wynne (July 29, 2010). "Donkey's Wild Ass Ancestor Confirmed". Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  4. ^ [1], [2], [3], [4], [5].
  5. ^ Downer's letter
  6. ^ [6]
  7. ^ [7]
  8. ^ [8]

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