The newly born is male, his mother is Tifany born in Dvůr Králové, for whom this foal is the fourth offspring. The father is Norbert, for whom it is the second foal.
"Shortly after the birth, the whole herd made a huge fuss and cried long and loud. The cub was checked by the seahorses living in the same enclosure," described breeder Dominika Stempa, who watched the cub just a few minutes after birth. "It was already on its feet, as is typical for Somali Wild Ass, and followed the mother and the rest of the herd," added Dominika Stempa.
Somali Wild Ass is a subspecies of the African Donkey. It is a species on the verge of extinction - scientists estimate that between 23 and 200 animals live in several isolated subpopulations in the politically unstable Horn of Africa. The largest is in Eritrea and Ethiopia and numbers 17 individuals. Moreover, numbers continue to decline virtually everywhere, and the governments of the countries where the Somali donkey is found have many serious problems to deal with given the complex situation in the region. Thus, conservation in the wild is not effective despite the efforts of international organisations dedicated to saving the species.
Breeding in zoos is therefore crucial for the survival of Somali donkeys and is becoming increasingly important. However, due to its space requirements and explosive temperament, it is not very popular among zoos, similar to other forms of wild donkeys. Worldwide, only 208 Somali donkeys live in zoos associated with the international ZIMS database, and 17 foals have been born in the last 12 months, eight of them in European zoos. There is a herd of six in Dvůr Králové. Placing the reared foals in new homes is difficult, but reproduction is absolutely essential for the sustainability of the entire population in human care. If it were to stop, the population would face extinction.
Donkey populations are further decimated by the loss of living space due to human pressure, but also by direct hunting for meat or for medicinal purposes: bone broths are traditionally used to treat tuberculosis, rheumatism, constipation or bone and back pain. The struggle for water and its scarcity is also increasingly critical.
The aforementioned saber-toothed seahorses also live in an exhibit called the Sahel, which can be admired by visitors to the walking section of the complex and Josef Wagner's African Safari. These have been completely eradicated by man in the wild and are gradually returning to the wild thanks to zoos in places where the security situation allows it. A pair of straight-horned hornbills also headed to the wild from Dvůr Králové. This year, the Dvorské Dvorák herd of white-horned seahorses has grown by two youngsters after a break of several years.
A Somali Wild Ass was born on a day as hot as it would have been in his homeland
A critically endangered baby of Somali Wild Ass was born in the safari park. It "chose" to be born on a day similarly hot to the one that normally prevails in the species' homeland - the arid deserts of Eritrea, Ethiopia and perhaps even Djibouti.