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Persian Onager Foal born at Smithsonian

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: September 5, 2021 1:00 am

Persian Onager Smithsonian

The Persian onager foal stands in its paddock with mum at the Smithsonian's Conservation Biology Institute

Photo Credit: Smithsonian's Conservation Biology Institute

As keepers completed their morning rounds at the Smithsonian's Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) on July 21st they discovered a Persian onager foal. Ten year female Sayeh had given birth overnight.

By the time the female foal was found in the morning it was already standing, walking and nursing.

This is the 48th successful foal welcomed as part of the breeding program for this species at the Institute since its inception in 1975.

A video of the Persian onager foal at the Smithsonian's Conservation Biology Institute

Photo Credit: Smithsonian's Conservation Biology Institute

During her first month of life the calf has become rather curious and bold. She's also already made a friend. When Sayeh introduced her foal to the herd she immediately took a liking to 2 year old female Riley and the pair are often seen exploring together.

Persian onagers are considered endangered in the wild by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Breeding the species is difficult with females only receptive to mating for 3-5 days each year. To help increase their chances of a successful mating scientists at the SCBI undertake urine samples regularly to examine hormone levels.

To assist in this process the keepers at the SCBI have trained the onagers to urinate on cue. The onagers receive a treat of apple biscuits, their favorite, in exchange for doing this.

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The father of the foal is 14 year old male Mandrake. He was introduced to Sayeh after keepers determined she was in estrus.

Due to their training with the Persian onager herds they were able to keep an eye on the pregnancy for its 365 day length.

Learn more about the Smithsonian's Conservation Biology Institute on their website – Smithsonian's Conservation Biology Institute

Persian Onager Smithsonian

The Persian onager foal stands in its paddock with mum at the Smithsonian's Conservation Biology Institute

Video Credit: Smithsonian's Conservation Biology Institute

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