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African Wild Ass (Equus africanus) & Domesticated Donkey (Equus asinus) Fact Sheet: Managed Care

Breeding in Managed Care

Why do people breed donkeys? (Starkey & Starkey 1997)

  • World-wide, donkeys are mainly used for carrying loads but they also have other uses, including
    • Some cultures prize donkeys as indicators of wealth or status
    • Some people eat donkey meat
    • Donkeys can be milked
    • Donkeys guard sheep and other livestock
    • Donkeys in industrialized countries may be companions, used for breeding and showing, kept as pack animals or for riding

Crossing species

  • All species of horses can interbreed, but don't do so normally in the wild (Clutton-Brock 1999)
    • Crosses often, but not always, infertile (Yang et al 2004)
  • African pastoralists often breed their donkeys to wild asses (Clutton-Brock 1999)
    • Impacts the genetics of the wild ass populations (Moehlman 2002)

Somali Youngsters

Get acquainted with one of Africa's most endangered equids.

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African Wild Ass

Wild asses at the Safari Park

African Wild Ass can be seen from the Africa Tram at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

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Page Citations

Clutton-Brock (1981, 1999)
Moehlman (2002)
Starkey & Starkey (1997)
Yang et al (2004)

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