ST. LOUIS (KSDK) – A record of five Somali wild ass foals were born between Aug. 19 and Oct. 15 at the Saint Louis Zoo. The births are a first for two of their moms.
The father of all five foals is Abai, who came from the Basel Zoo in 2005. Nine of Abai's offspring have been born at the St. Louis zoo.
There are currently only 51 Somali wild asses in North America, and 11 of them are at the Saint Louis Zoo.
The foals are:
· A male named Hirizi (Swahili for charm or amulet) was born to 6-year-old Haiba, a first-time mother who came from Europe (Werner Stamm Foundation) to the Saint Louis Zoo. Hirizi weighed 48 pounds at birth.
· A female named Farah (which means joy or cheerfulness) was born to 9-year-old Fataki, a female that came from San Diego Zoo Safari Park in 2005. Farah weighed 58 pounds at birth.
· A female named Luana (which means enjoyment) was born to 4-year-old Luuli, another first-time mother, also from San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Luuli came to the Saint Louis Zoo in 2010. Luana weighed 53 pounds at birth.
·A male named Tristan (which means clever one) was born to 9-year-old Tukia, another female from San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Tristan weighed 66.5 pounds at birth.
·A male named Rebel was born to 9-year-old Liberty, a female that came from Zoo Miami in 2012. Rebel weighed 52 pounds at birth.
The Somali wild ass is a critically endangered member of the horse family. They are found in small numbers in the desert areas of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. Fewer than 1,000 exist in northeastern Africa.
The Somali wild ass is the smallest of all wild horses, asses and zebras, standing at about four feet tall at the shoulder and weighing about 600 pounds. Their long, narrow hooves allow them to be surefooted in rough, rocky habitats.