Rare Somali Wild Ass Born in Chile Zoo

A Somali wild ass foal and its mother are exhibited to the public as part of a conservation project for this endangered species at Buin Zoo, Chile, in July.

BUIN, Chile (AFP-Jiji) — A rare Somali wild ass has been born in a zoo in Chile, the fourth specimen of the critically endangered species to be born in the South American country, the zoo owner said.

The foal, named Julieta, was born in a private zoo on June 19, said Ignacio Idalsoaga, a veterinarian and founder of the zoo.

With white, striped legs similar to those of a zebra, the Somali wild ass is critically endangered in its native East Africa.

There are less than 200 left in the wild, and a similar number in captivity. Seven of the latter are in South America, all at Buin Zoo in Santiago, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Hunting and crossbreeding with the common domestic donkey have reduced the populations of this animal to the point of placing it at a critical level of extinction, the last category on the IUCN register before extinction.