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May 09, 2022

Somali wild ass born at the Saint Louis Zoo

A female Somali wild ass was born at the Saint Louis Zoo on April 8, 2022. Please give a wild welcome to Astrid! Though only a few weeks old, Astrid is a vibrant part of the herd. She is full of energy, but still keeps close to mom Tukia (pronounced too-KEE-ya).

Astrid is the first new foal at the Zoo in three years, and her birth is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan for this species.

The Somali wild ass is critically endangered. This means they are at high risk of disappearing completely from the wild. There are a number of interconnected reasons for this decline, including overhunting and habitat loss. For years, the Zoo has been working to help the Somali wild ass in its natural habitat. In 2017, the Saint Louis Zoo assisted in the development of the Roadmap for the Conservation of the African Wild Ass, which outlines key actions to help conserve this species over the next ten years.

The Somali wild ass is one of three subspecies (types) of African wild ass. Overall, the species is the smallest of the wild equids, a group that includes horses, asses and zebras. A typical African wild ass stands about 4 feet at the shoulder and weighs about 400 to 500 pounds.

Saint Louis Zoo (314) 781-0900
Billy Brennan, (314) 646-4633;
Christy Childs, (314) 646-4639;
Kirby Ewald, (314) 646-4945;
Megan Pellock, (314) 646-4703;

Editor note: This morning, Monday, May 9, the Saint Louis Zoo shared video on social media of our one-month-old Somali wild ass. Here are the links to the posts with the video, which was taken this week: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter. Photos are attached and below is some background information.

Photos: Web-ready images attached; hi-res available by emailing Credit Robin Winkelman, Saint Louis Zoo