Persian onager

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Persian onager
Jielbeaumadier onagre de perse koln 2008.jpeg
Persian onager at Cologne zoo.
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Equidae
Genus: Equus
Species: E. hemionus
Subspecies: E. h. onager
Trinomial name
Equus hemionus onager
Introduced onagers in the Negev Mountains, Israel

The Persian onager (Equus hemionus onager), also called the gur, Persian wild ass or Persian zebra, is a subspecies[1] of onager (Asiatic wild ass) native to Iran. It is listed as "critically endangered" and "extremely rare",[1] with no more than 600 individuals left in the wild and only 30 individuals living within North American institutions.[citation needed]

Introduced population in Israel[edit]

In 1968, eleven Persian and Turkmenian onagers from were flown from Iran to Israel in exchange for Israeli gazelles. These were bred in captivity at the Hai Bar Yotvata wildlife sanctuary. Offsprings were introduced into the wild in the Negev Mountains area, intended to replace the local subspecies gone extinct. The introduced onagers have since established a stable population of around 200 individuals.


The Persian onager are critically endangered and close to extinction. Currently, poaching for meat and hide, competition with livestock, and drought are the greatest threats to this species. Sometimes the term "onager" is reserved specifically for this subspecies.[1] Information on the basic biology of the subspecies and how it differs from others is lacking, which hampers conservation efforts.[1]

Conservation status[edit]

On August 30, 2014, Iranian officials reported that three Persian onagers were born in Khar Turan National Park reserve near Shahroud in Semnan province, where it also has the largest populations of the equids.[2]

Related subspecies[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Asiatic Wild Ass   Equus hemionus". Gland, Switzerland: IUCN/SSC Equid Specialist Group. 
  2. ^ MNA. "3 Persian zebras born in Semnan’s National Park". Mehr News Agency. Retrieved 30 August 2014.