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Syrian Wild Ass

Syrian Wild Ass
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Syrian Wild Ass in London Zoo, 1872.
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Equidae
Genus: Equus
Subgenus: Asinus
Species: E. hemionus
Subspecies: E. h. hemippus
Trinomial name
Equus hemionus hemippus
Geoffroy, 1855

The Syrian Wild Ass (Equus hemionus hemippus) is an extinct subspecies of Equus hemionus that ranged across Syria, Jordan and Iraq.

The Syrian Wild Ass was the smallest form of Equidae and could not be domesticated.[1] Its coloring changed with the seasons – a tawny olive coat for the summer months and pale sandy yellow for the winter.[2][3]

It is believed this is the animal described as the “wild ass” in several books of the Old Testament, including Job, Psalms, Sirach and Jeremiah. European travelers in the Middle East during the 15th and 16th centuries reporting seeing large herds. [4] However, its numbers began to drop precipitously during the 18th and 19th century due to overhunting, and its existence was further imperiled by the regional upheaval of World War I. The last known wild specimen was fatally shot in 1927 at the Al Ghams oasis near Lake Azraq in Jordan, and the last captive specimen died the same year at the Vienna Zoo.[2]

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References




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