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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.

© San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.

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.

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.

Page Citations

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

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