Big Ass News! Record Number of Somaili Wild Asses Born at St. Louis Zoo
Five Somali wild asses gave birth to five baby asses -- that's record ass, you know -- between August 19 and October 15 at the zoo.
A critically endangered member of the horse family, fewer than 1,000 exist in northeastern Africa, according to the zoo, and 51 live in North America, including 11 in St. Louis.
Let's meet these asses:
- Hirizi, a male named for the Swahili word for "charm" or "amulet," was born to first-time mother Haiba. Hirizi weighed 48 pounds at birth.
- Farah, a female whose name means "cheerfulness," was born to nine-year-old Fataki, who came to St. Louis from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in 2005. Farah weighed 58 pounds at birth.
- Luana, a female whose name means "enjoyment," was born to first-time mother four-year-old Luuli, who came from San Diego Zoo Safari Park in 2010. Luana weighed 53 pounds at birth.
- Tristan, a male whose name means "clever one," was born to nine-year-old Tukia. Tristan weighed 66.5 pounds at birth.
- Rebel was born to nine-year-old Liberty, who come to Saint Louis from Zoo Miami in 2012. Rebel weighed 52 pounds at birth.
The Somali wild ass is four feet tall, making it the smallest of all wild horses, asses and zebras. It has long, narrow hooves -- the narrowest of any wild horse -- keeping it swift and sure-footed in their rough, rocky habitat. The asses have loud voices to keep in touch over broad expanses of desert.