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First Posted: Nov 16, 2013
Nov 16, 2013

Persian Onager

Image: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/SCBI/ReproductiveScience/WildEquids/images/20080703-1338JC.jpg

The Persian onager is a subspecies of the Asiatic wild ass and is native to Iran. It is more closely related to the domestic donkey (E. asinis africanus) than to domestic horses (E. caballus). The term onager is often reserved for this subspecies. While scientists know the basic reproductive traits of the domestic donkey, little is known about the reproductive biology of onagers. It is critically endangered and extremely rare. Historically, subspecies of Asiatic wild asses inhabited thousands of acres including the steppes and deserts ranging from Saudi Arabia in the Middle East to as far west as Mongolia and China. Their range has shrunk to a small fraction of the original habitat. Remaining animals are now restricted to protected areas. Numbers of most subspecies have declined to a few thousand, with only a few hundred in some areas. Their population is restricted to two areas in Touran and Bahram-e-goor with estimates of no more than 500 animals left in the wild. Loss of habitat, poaching for meat and hide, competition with domestic livestock, draught and the effects of war and civil unrest threaten the remaining populations. Conservation of the Critically Endangered Persian Onager at the National Zoo

For More Information:

Conservation of the Critically Endangered Persian Onager at the National Zoo
Scientists Work to Save Persian Onager from Extinction
Persian Onager

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