Extraordinary Breeding Success for Critically Endangered Somali Wild Ass at Woburn Safari Park
For the first time ever at Woburn Safari Park, not just one, but THREE precious Somali Wild Ass foals have been born. The keepers are extremely pleased to see these healthy and lively foals join the animals in the Road Safari drive-through reserves.
Mother of the first foal to arrive is Ira, who is 5 years old; she came to Woburn from a collection in Switzerland. Keepers have noted she?s being extremely protective of the male foal, and is very ?foal proud?; keeping the other two mares in the herd away from the youngster, giving them time to bond. Once bonded, she will let the other mares interact with him, but under her watchful gaze.
The Somali Wild Ass baby boom continued as a second male foal was born on Saturday 28th September and a third arriving on the Friday 4th October!? The babies will all be named by keepers in the next few days.
The sire of all three foals is named Simon, he is 18 years old and came to Woburn Safari Park from Poland in early 2012. He obviously didn?t waste any time in mating with the females, since the gestation period for Somali Wild Ass is 13 months. He is a really relaxed and calm stallion who enjoys a little fuss from the keepers.
Breeding plans are overseen by the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) to carefully plan for the conservation and future of these beautiful animals.
There are only two other zoo collections in the UK holding a breeding herd of Somali Wild Ass, which makes the arrival of these youngsters particularly important.
Keepers at Woburn Safari Park are delighted that 2013 has been such a successful year for breeding with this species, as well as with the Rothschild?s Giraffe herd, Grevy?s Zebra and East African Mountain Bongo.? All of these species are critically endangered and worryingly estimates put the number of individual Somali Wild Ass at only 280-300 left in the wild.
Chris Smart, Head of the Section at Woburn Safari Park discusses the new arrival:?This is a great achievement for Woburn Safari Park, we have held Somali Wild Ass since May 2007 and it being our first ever foals, the team are really proud to see this gorgeous new addition to the herd?
For more information on visiting Woburn Safari Park please see their main page http://www.educationalvisitsuk.com/attractions/attraction/woburn_safari_park