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Somali wild ass, Equus africanus somaliensis

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Country: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia

Home tract: Its distribution is or was in central and southern Eritrea (especially what used to be Denkalia province, now part of the Southern Red Sea region), the Danakil Desert and Awash River Valley in north-eastern Ethiopia’s Afar region, the Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia, northern Somalia (from Maysh and Erigano in Sanaag region in the north, through the Nugaal valley and southwards down to the Shebele river) and western Djibouti. The animals are found at their highest density in Eritrea’s volcanic landscape between the Buri Peninsula and the Dalool Depression, an area designated by the government in the mid-1990s as a high priority area for conservation protection of the African wild ass and as a nature reserve, and their behaviour has been quite closely observed on the Messir Plateau.

Status: Endangered, conservation

Morphological Characters

Body coat: The coat is reddish grey, with a dark mane; the dorsal stripe is often absent, or otherwise incomplete, and the shoulder cross-stripe is poorly defined, but dark horizontal leg stripes are present and it is possible to identify individual animals from the unique pattern of their leg stripes.

Ears: Shorter than the Nubian

Legs: hoofs are wider and lower

Mophometric traits

Body height at withers: 120-125 cm


  1. Porter V., Alderson G.L.H., Hall S.J.G. and Sponenberg D.P., 2016, “Mason’s World Encyclopedia of Livestock Breeds and Breeding,” 2 Volume Pack. Cabi [Web Reference]
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