Onager (Asiatic Wild Ass)
Equus hemionus

 
 
 
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What Are They Like?

Onagers are a species of wild ass that was once native to the deserts of Pakistan, Syria, India, Israel, Tibet and Iran. Physically, they are the most horse-like of all the wild ass species. Onagers stand about 50 inches (127 centimeters) at the shoulder and weigh between 440 and 575 pounds (200-260 kilograms). The color of an onager's coat changes by season; during the summer it appears reddish-brown, and in winter it appears light brown. The muzzle and belly are white, and a thick black stripe that runs down the middle of an onanger's back.

Where Do They Live?

Onagers are found in two protected areas of Iran, Touran and Bahram-e-Goor. They inhabit flat, arid desert areas, and are always found within 20 miles (32 kilometers of a water source.

 
Did You Know?
Onagers are notorious for their inability to be tamed by man.

How Are Babies Made?

The breeding season for onagers takes place from October to April. After a gestation period of approximately 11 months, a mare will give birth to a single foal.

What Do They Eat?

Onagers graze on perennial grasses. During the drier seasons, onagers will forage for shrubs, woody plants and bark.

 
Did You Know?
Onagers are fast runners and have been recorded at speeds of over 30 miles per hour (50 kilometers per hour).

What Do They Do?

Onagers form small family groups consisting of a single male stallion and multiple females and their young. During the day they graze and rest on highland or lowland desert. Onagers have a well-devised strategy for fending off predators, in which stallions from different groups will band together to chase off enemies.

How Concerned Should We Be?

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which keeps a "Red List" of species in danger worldwide, lists the onager as "endangered." The biggest threat to onagers is poaching. They are illegally hunted for their meat and hides. Another threat is a loss of habitat due to the encroachment of man. Overgrazing and competition for food and water resources also pose a significant threat to onagers in the wild.

What's Being Done?

Onagers are legally protected in Iran. Six hundred onagers are estimated to be left in the two protected areas in Touran and Bahram-e-Goor.

 

Rare Persian Onagers Born at the Wilds

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