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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wild Ass Foals Born at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

A herd of Somali wild ass could be seen running through their exhibit on Tuesday at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The Safari Park has celebrated three births in this herd of critically endangered species in July, which brings the size of the herd to seven. The Park has had 42 successful births since it started breeding the Somali wild ass in 1985.

The herd sire is named Freedom and is the father of all three foals. The first foal, born on July 4, is a female named Uhura, which is Somali for "freedom." The second foal, born on July 10, is also a female and named Kira after a river in Africa. The third foal, which was born late in the day on July 11, is a male and has yet to be named. Visitors to the Safari Park can see the colt and fillies on the Africa Tram Safari.The Somali wild ass is native to northeastern Africa in the countries of Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. The species is often found living alone due to the lack of food in the deserts where it is found. Small herds do exist, though usually comprised of adult females and their offspring.

Somali wild asses are most active at dawn, dusk and nighttime, when it is cool, in order to conserve energy and water. During the heat of the day they prefer to rest in the shade.This summer the Safari Park is hosting an African Extravaganza with acrobats, a storyteller and an African chief.

The Summer Safari celebration begins as soon as visitors step onto the Park's front plaza, with the beat of an African drum setting the rhythm for adventure. Inside, Chief Kahle provides a warm welcome, poses for pictures and hands each child their very own safari hat. Abantwana, the storyteller, spins tales of African wildlife while guests play instruments that help the stories unfold. The Park also has extended hours, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., until August 21.

The 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo Safari Park (historically referred to as Wild Animal Park) is operated by the not-for-profit San Diego Zoo and includes a 900-acre native species reserve. The organization focuses on conservation and research work around the globe, educates millions of individuals a year about wildlife and maintains accredited horticultural, animal, library and photo collections. The Zoo also manages the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.

Source: The Imperial Valley News

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