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The domestic donkey is derived from the African Wild Ass, which used to range across much of northern Africa but now occupies a far more limited range in parts of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Somalia and is a critically endangered species. Taxonomic treatments vary, but Rubenstein (2011) treats the African Wild Ass and the domestic donkey as two distinct species, Equus africanus and E. asinus, respectively.


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