The Asian wild ass typically has a sandy-colored coat with lighter-colored legs and belly, a short erect black mane, a black spinal stripe, and a black tail tuft. Its neigh is shrill. Different races of this species vary in size, but all are smaller than the African ass. They were once widely distributed across Asia, but they have been crowded out of their grazing lands by domestic livestock and have been hunted for their flesh and hides. Each race is now restricted to a very limited territory. Among them are the Persian ass, or onager, of central Asia; the Mongolian ass, or kulan, of NE Asia; the Tibetan ass, or kiang, presently the most numerous Asian wild ass; and the Indian ass, or ghorkhar. All are considered endangered, and the continued survival of the onager and the kulan is particularly threatened. The Syrian wild ass, of SW Asia, is probably already extinct.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.