Bemmel, A.C.V. van
|Author||A.C.V. van Bemmel|
|Title||Some remarks on the African wild ass|
Without any doubt the African Wild Ass should be considered a species threatened with extinction. Therefore, it seems worth-while to collect as many data on this species as possible and to do this quickly. Data and material, however, are scarce. Many sportsmen and zoologists observed the animal in natural conditions and hardly any book or paper on the wildlife of regions in which Wild Asses occurred or still can be found, fails to record some observations. However, these observations mostly are more or less incidental. Only during the last years some special studies have been made on the last remnants of the Wild Ass in Ethiopia and Somalia (Simon, 1966, 1968; Blower, 1968; Klingel, 1971a, b), in order to prepare some measures for the conservation of the species.
From a zoological point of view, we are too late to collect all information necessary to give an appropriate account of the original distribution both of the species as a whole and of all subspecies that might be distinguished, and even of the taxonomic characters of these subspecies. The question as to how many subspecies once existed must remain unanswered. At least one subspecies still survives (Harper, 1945), the fate of others is uncertain.
Material of the African Wild Ass is extremely scarce in museum collections.
The reason is that most material of big game in museum collections has not been collected on purpose by zoological collectors, but by sportsmen hunting for trophies. These sportsmen afterwards sometimes presented these trophies to a museum, but essential data usually are lacking. As far as Wild Asses are concerned, no sportsman was interested in shooting "donkeys". Even professionals, collecting big game for museums, objected against shooting Wild
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