Africa Alive Zoological Reserve

Double celebration at Africa Alive Zoological Reserve as second critically endangered foal is born within a month

Posted: 9th August, 2022

Africa Alive Zoological Reserve in Suffolk has announced the birth of a critically endangered Somali wild ass on 28 July 2022 to mother Pienga and father Sahib.

The news follows the birth of another Somali wild ass foal born at the park just a month prior on 30 June 2022.

These animals are one of the rarest equine species in the world, with less than 200 adults left in the wild according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (ICUN) Red List of Threatened Species.

The Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), the conservation education charity behind Africa Alive Zoological Reserve, play an active role in European Breeding Programmes to protect animals like the Somali wild ass from extinction.

Graeme Williamson, Head of Living Collections at Africa Alive Zoological Reserve, said: “We are absolutely overjoyed to announce that we have not one, but two Somali wild ass foals now at the reserve.

“The new foal already has a strong bond with mum and is developing quite an inquisitive personality. Both mares and their foals are currently mixed together in the main paddock, and the foals can be seen chasing each other under the watchful eyes of their mums.

“Sahib is not currently mixed with the mares and foals, but will be after we give the foals enough time to settle in.

“We are also delighted to confirm that the first foal, born to mother Calula just a month ago, is female!”

The European Breeding Programme is incredibly important for the survival of this critically endangered species, and ensures that the animals are genetically paired to create healthy populations of vulnerable animals.

Pienga and Sahib have previously had two foals together, both of which have since been moved to other collections in Europe to further their species through the European Breeding Programme.

Sahib also fathered the female foal born 30 June 2022 with mare Calula.

Somali wild ass are found in small patches of the rocky deserts of north east Africa and their ‘critically endangered’ ICUN status is due to war, hunting and habitat loss.

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