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Somali Wild Ass Foals Born at San Diego Zoo
Credit: Tammy Spratt, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

A Somali wild ass and her foal run through their exhibit on Tuesday at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The foal is one of three born to this critically endangered species at the Park in July 2011, which brings the size of the herd to seven. The Park has celebrated 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.