For the first time in its history, a critically endangered Somali Wild Ass was born at Zoo Miami last Thursday.
The foal and its mother, a 14-year-old named Lisha were introduced to the public this week and the baby seems to be adapting and integrating well into the small herd.
- PHOTOS: Baby and mom
A neonatal exam is scheduled for Wednesday when the veterinary staff will get its first close look at the newborn. Initial observations indicate that the baby is a female.
Somali Wild Asses are the world’s most critically endangered asses with less than 1,000 believed to still exist in the wild. It is the last remaining ancestor of the modern donkey. They are the smallest of the wild equids and are found in the rocky deserts in very isolated areas of Eastern Africa.
Adults weigh approximately 500 pounds and mares give birth to usually a single foal after a gestation of 11 months. They are characterized by their smooth gray coat and their striped legs which are indicative of their close relation to zebras.
Zoo Miami began exhibiting the highly endangered Somali Wild Ass in 2011. All the adult animals are on loan from the San Diego Wild Animal Park and arrived here as part of a carefully planned captive breeding program designed to maintain healthy populations of these extremely rare animals for generations to come.