Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Equus asinus somalicus
There is 1 barcode sequence available from BOLD and GenBank. Below is the sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species. See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen. Other sequences that do not yet meet barcode criteria may also be available.
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Equus asinus somalicus
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
Somali wild ass
The Somali wild ass (Equus africanus somaliensis) is a subspecies of the African wild ass. It is found in the Southern Red Sea region of Eritrea, the Afar Region of Ethiopia, and still in Somalia. The legs of the Somali wild ass are horizontally striped with black, resembling those of a zebra.
Current distribution and habitat
There are likely less than 1000 animals (or even 700) in the wild and the IUCN Red List of endangered species described it as "critically endangered". This means they face an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
A few hundred animals live in Ethiopia as well as in Eritrea. There might be still some in Somalia, most likely in the stable Somaliland region. Wars and food competition with domesticated animals and the local human population, as well as decreasing food and water sources diminished wild population – extremely in the past few years.
As of 2011[update], there are about 200 individuals in captivity around the globe  living in 34 zoos, as well as three animals in Hai-Bar, Israel (as of 2009). The international studbook is managed by Tierpark Berlin.
The leading zoo for breeding this rare ass is Zoo Basel, Switzerland. Its breeding program manages the European studbook for the Somali wild ass and coordinates the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) - as well as the global species committee of the Somali Wild Ass since 2004.
Basel started having Somali wild asses in 1970 and had its first birth in 1972. Since then, 11 stallions and 24 females (as of 2009) were born and survived childhood Today, all Somali wild donkeys in captivity are related to the original group at Zoo Basel.
As of January 18, 2012, there are four Somali wild donkeys in Basel: The stallion "Gigolo" (3) and three females (among them "Yogala"-14)"
Domestic donkeys found in Italy are typically descended from the Somali wild ass, as opposed to those from other European countries where domesticated stock are usually descended from the Nubian wild ass.
A protected population of the Somali wild ass exists in the Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve in Israel, to the north of Eilat. This reserve was established in 1968 with the view to bolster populations of endangered desert species.
- (German) Noack Th. (1884). "Neues aus der Tierhandlung von Karl Hagenbeck, sowie aus dem Zoologischen Garten in Hamburg". Der Zoologische Garten 25: 100-115.
- Sclater P. L. (1884). "On some mammals from Somali-land". Proceedings of the Scientific Meetings of the Zoological Society of London 1884: 538-542, pls. 49-50.
- Groves C. P. & Smeenk C. (June 2007). "The nomenclature of the African wild ass". Zoologische Mededelingen 81(1). HTM, PDF
- Seltene Schönheit. (German) Zoo Basel, retrieved 2010-12-25
- (German) Förderprojekte der Werner Stamm Stiftungn . Werner Stamm Stiftung, retrieved 2011-11-14
- (German) Somali-Wildesel. zoodirektoren.de, retrieved 2011-11-14
- http://www.zoobasel.ch/aktuell/detail.php?NEWSID=187&PHPSESSID=34277fba68d5857ecdb43ae645c9831c%7CZoo Basel|INDIAN RHINO VISION (IRV) 2020
- (German) Tanz der Somali-Wildesel. Zoo Basel, retrieved 2012-2-24
- "Pompeii Horse Is in Fact an Ass". BBC. 3 November 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/cambridgeshire/hi/people_and_places/history/newsid_9150000/9150180.stm.
- Moehlman, P. D. (ed). 2002. Equids: Zebras, Asses, and Horses: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN/SCC Equid Specialist Group
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