The Somali wild ass (Equus africanus somaliensis) is a subspecies of the African wild ass. It is found in Somalia, the Southern Red Sea region of Eritrea, and the Afar Region of Ethiopia. Their legs have horizontal black stripes, resembling those of a zebra.
There are likely less than 1000 (maybe under 700) left in the wild and the IUCN Red List of endangered species described it as “critically endangered”. This means they face an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
In 2011 there were about 200 individuals in 34 zoos around the globe, as well as three animals in Hai-Bar, Israel. The international studbook is managed by Tierpark Berlin
The leading zoo for breeding this rare ass is Zoo Basel, Switzerland. Basel started having Somali wild asses in 1970 and had its first birth in 1972. Since then, 11 stallions and 24 females (as of 2009) were born and survived childhood. Today, all Somali wild donkeys in captivity are related to the original group at Zoo Basel.
Only three institutions breed Somali wild ass in the United States: St. Louis Zoo, San Diego Zoo, and White Oak Conservation in Yulee, Florida. White Oak received a herd in 2008 as part of an international effort to save Somali wild ass from extinction. Since then, the herd has produced 18 foals, including several born in spring 2013.
A conservation project (mainly supported by Zoo Basel) in the Northeast African country of Eritrea counts 47 Somali wild asses living in the mountains between the Buri Peninsula and the Dalool ditch.