Chester Zoo is celebrating a very special new arrival – the birth of a foal that is the rarest species of equine in the world.
The unnamed male foal – a rare onager, which is an Asiatic wild ass – was born on 10 June 2012 and he is thriving.
The rare equine foal was born to Zarrin, a first-time onager mother.
Onagers are native to the semi-desert regions of Iran and are now only found in two protected areas. Threatened by poaching, over-grazing and disease, there are believed to be only around 400 onagers left in the wild.
However, Chester is part of an international conservation scheme and thanks to the success of a breeding programme is helping to ensure these beautiful animals are not lost forever.
Curator of Mammals Tim Rowlands said:
“Our young onager is doing very, very well and Zarrin is proving to be a natural mother.
“The species is critically endangered and so the new foal is a valuable addition to the safety net population found in zoos.
“Sadly, as the rarest species of equid in the world, there is a very real possibility that they could become extinct in the wild and so constant conservation attention is required to secure the future of the species.”
Check out some of the lovely pictures below and see the beautiful baby boy for yourself! To find out more about the new born foal and the world’s rarest species of equid, visit the Chester Zoo website.