Wild kulan donkeys in Kazakhstan

This video says about itself:

1 September 2014

Herd of Indian wild ass grazing in a field…..

The Indian wild ass (Equus hemionus khur) also called the Khur, is a subspecies of the onager native to Southern Asia.

The Indian wild ass, as with most other Asian wild ass subspecies, is quite different from the African wild ass species. The coat is usually sandy, but varies from reddish grey, fawn, to pale chestnut. The animal possesses an erect, dark mane which runs from the back of the head and along the neck. The mane is then followed by a dark brown stripe running along the back, to the root of the tail.

From BirdLife:

21 Dec 2017

Coming home: the kulan of Central Kazakhstan

Danara Zharbolova from ACBK/BirdLife Kazakhstan recounts the promising first steps in an exciting project to establish a new population of Turkmenian kulan in Central Kazakhstan.

The Turkmenian kulan Equus hemionus kulan is a subspecies of onager, or Asiatic wild ass, native to Central Asia. And though it may not look it – with a diminutive frame 200-250 cm long and 100-140 cm tall – it is actually one of the largest onagers in the world. There was a time when the kulan’s distinctive light brown coat with patches of white on its on belly, back and sides was a familiar sight out upon the deserts, deltas and steppes between northern Afghanistan, southern Siberia and western China. But in recent years, its story has taken a sad turn.

The combined threats of illegal hunting and habitat loss has dramatically limited its population size and distribution areas – and from some locations, it has disappeared entirely. In 2016, the full extent of its sad decline was hammered home when the IUCN marked it globally Endangered on its Red List.

In Kazakhstan, our BirdLife partner ACBK has recently started work on a project to establish a new kulan population in Central Asia.[1] The project, coordinated by the Norwegian Institute of Nature Research, aspires to not only make the species more stable, but to help restore the natural ecosystems of the Central Kazakhstan steppe.[2]

According to a 2017 survey, the total Kazakh population of Turkmenian kulan stands at 3,900 animals, of which 3,400 reside in Altyn Emel National Park – the biggest population of this subspecies in the world. But the park’s territory is limited and Altyn Emel is struggling to cope with the herd’s growth, leading to potential outbreaks of disease and competition with other species. Conservationists came to the conclusion that something had to be done.

In late October, ACBK successfully moved the first nine kulan from Altyn Emel national park to Altyn Dala nature reserve in Central Kazakhstan. The chosen nine were carefully selected by expert zoologists and veterinarians from a group of 50 kulan rounded-up by ACBK together with the Altyn Emel park rangers and the state-run Okhotzooprom. Precise measures were taken to ensure safety and minimise stress levels during the big move – each animal was sedated and put into a special box for transport upon a Mi-26T – the world’s biggest helicopter – run by the Kazakh airline Kazaviaspas.

And so they embarked for the Turgai steppe. At the beginning of the 19th century, the kulan lived in this region, and were still to be found roaming along the river Uly-Zhylanshyk until the 1930s. Today, its relief, vegetation and water access still provide the perfect ecological requirements for the kulan to thrive. And it is here, in the two state nature reserves, Altyn Dala and Irgiz-Turgai, where they will make their new home.

For the time being, the nine animals will be well looked-after in a purpose-built centre set up by ACBK. Then, in the spring, they will be released to the wild. It is hoped that these first nine ‘adventurers’ will be joined by a further 30 animals in 2018 and 2019.

Danara Zharbolova – Head of Communications, ACBK/BirdLife Kazakhstan

In early 2017, the government of Kazakhstan introduced a ban on spring hunting. One year on, Danara Zharbolova (ACBK/BirdLife Kazakhstan) reflects on why this decision was – and remains – so important: here.

2 thoughts on “Wild kulan donkeys in Kazakhstan

  1. Pingback: Florida, USA prehistoric horses did not travel far | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Horses hooves’ evolution, new research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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