A rare pair of onagers have joined the family at Chester Zoo in the United Kingdom. The half siblings born to dad Holmes and mothers, Jamila and Zarrin entered the world just hours apart from each other on July 4th.
Curator of Mammals at Chester Zoo, Tim Rowlands said, “Both youngsters are doing very well and mums Jamila and Zarrin are doing a great job of nurturing and bonding with their new charges.”
The onager is a wild ass which can be found throughout the deserts of Mongolia, China and Iran. They are the world’s rarest equid and are found in just two protected areas following their species halving in population during the past 16 years.
“Onagers are the rarest equid species in the world and one of the rarest animals that we have here at the zoo, so we were absolutely delighted to have two foals arrive – one male and one female – during same night!”
“We hope the foals themselves will one day go on to contribute to the international breeding programme for the species, which is working to ensure there’s a sustainable population in zoos,” added Rowlands.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) currently list this species as critically endangered. They have suffered from illegal poaching, overgrazing and diseases which farm animals have passed on. It is believed that this species wild population may have dropped to just 600 and in captivity they are also rare as a result of the difficulties in breeding this species.
Photo Credit: Chester Zoo