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African Ass, Equus africanus

somali wild ass  
Somali wild ass

        The African ass was once widely distributed over northern Africa, but has more recently been restricted to semi-desert regions and mountain plateaus in Sudan and Ethiopia (Clutton-Brock 1992, Sterry 1994).  There are two subspecies of African wild ass, the Nubian and the Somali; both of these are thought to be ancestors of the domestic donkey (Clabby 1976).
        The Nubian wild ass, Equus africanus africanus, is a subspecies of African ass whose extinction has been confirmed only within the last several decades (Clabby 1976, Clutton-Brock 1992).  It was a grey animal with a light muzzle and underbelly, and a distinctive black cross formed by a dorsal stripe and a short stripe acoss the shoulders (Clabby 1976, Clutton-Brock 1992).  
        The Somali wild ass, Equus africanus somalinensis, is the sole surviving subspecies of African wild ass (Clutton-Brock 1992).  In appearance, it is similar to the Nubian wild ass but lacks the dorsal cross and instead has black stripes on its lower legs (Clutton-Brock 1992).  The Somali wild ass is also in danger of extinction, due to poaching and habitat loss (Clutton-Brock 1992).

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