Equus hemionus ssp. hemionus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Perissodactyla Equidae

Scientific Name: Equus hemionus ssp. hemionus Pallas, 1775
Parent Species:
Common Name(s):
English Mongolian Kulan
Equus hemionus ssp. luteus Matschie, 1911
Taxonomic Notes:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-05-01
Assessor(s): Kaczensky, P., Lkhagvasuren, B., Pereladova, O., Hemami, M. & Bouskila, A.
Reviewer(s): King, S.R.B. & Moehlman, P.D.
Contributor(s): Bi, J., Cao, Q. & Yang, W.
This subspecies is assessed as Near Threatened (NT) because a population decline of at least 20% is projected over the next three generations, based on old prevailing and newly emerging risks, thus approaching Vulnerable (VU) under A3bcd.

Although the population is large and currently appears stable, the rapid infrastructure development in the region and the associated influx of people in large parts of the subspecies range could quickly result in the re-emerging of old threats (e.g. increased competition with livestock for water and pasture, high poaching levels). Furthermore, linear infrastructure (e.g. roads, railways, canals) - if not carefully designed and mitigated - are likely to result in high mortalities if Wild Asses are impeded in their long-distance movements and become cut-off from important resources or refuge areas. Mongolia, which currently houses over 75% of the global population of the species, is at a crossroad and the outcome will depend on Mongolia’s ability to become “a global model for demonstrating that major economic development projects can proceed without degrading ungulate migrations” (Batsaikhan et al. 2014). Two of three Wild Ass populations in China are very small and data deficient, the population in Mazongshan (Gansu) may even be already extinct.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Mongolian Khulan has become restricted to the Mongolian Gobi and adjacent areas in northern China.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the Asiatic Wild Ass may have lost as much as 70% of its range in Mongolia since the 19th century because of direct persecution and competition with humans and their livestock over water and pasture use (Bannikov 1981, Reading et al. 2001). Reliable historic range maps and population numbers for wild asses are largely unavailable or based on short term expeditions. Range size within Mongolia seems to have remained rather constant since the 1970s, with the species nowadays being restricted to the Gobi areas of southern Mongolia. Fences have been shown to constitute absolute movement barriers and in the east the fenced Ulaanbaatar-Beijing railway constitutes the eastern border of the species range in Mongolia (Kaczensky et al. 2011). In the south, the border fence along the international border with China inhibits cross-border exchange between Khulan in China and Mongolia (Kaczensky et al. 2011a, Kaczensky et al. unpubl. data). Consequently, the Chinese populations should be regarded as separate populations.

In northern China, Khulan primarily occur in and around Kalamaili Nature Reserve, Xinjiang province (Chu et al. 2009). A second small occurrence may still be present in Mazongshan, Gansu presence although no monitoring has happened since 2007 (Bi 2007) and even back than Khulan presence could not be confirmed for sure. A third small occurrence is along the Chinese Mongolian border (Wulate Youqi), Inner Mongolia (Bi 2007) and may be largely a result of Khulan breaching the fence from the Mongolian side. The spatial extant of the two last occurrences is largely unknown.
Countries occurrence:
China; Mongolia
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:280000Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:280000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:4Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:NoLower elevation limit (metres):500
Upper elevation limit (metres):3000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

  1. Mongolian Gobi: 41,911 individuals with a stable trend (census dates: 1997, 2010, 2013), autochthonous (Reading et al. 2001 (Transaltai Gobi), Ransom et al. 2012 (Dzungarian Gobi), Norton-Griffith et al. 2013, Norton-Griffith et al. 2015, Buuveibaatar et al. in prep. (southeast Gobi))
  1. Kalamaili: 3,379-5,318 individuals with an increasing trend (census date: 2006, 2007) autochthonous (Chu et al. 2009)
  2. Mazongshan: zero to 10 individuals with an unknown trend (census date: 2005, 2006), autochthonous (Bi 2007) 
  3. Wulate Youqi: 180-250 individuals with an unknown trend (census date: 2005, 2006), autochthonous (Bi 2007, Bi pers. comm. 2014)
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:23000Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:4Continuing decline in subpopulations:No
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Mongolian Khulan occurs in grassland, semi-desert and desert areas.
Generation Length (years):7.5
Movement patterns:Nomadic
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The annual illegal off-take in Mongolia may have been as high as 4,500 individuals (Wingard and Zahler 2006, Stubbe et al. 2007) and likely caused a short term decline of the population. However, illegal off-take seems reduced in recent years (Batsaikhan pers. comm. 2014, Kaczensky pers. obs. 2014, Buuveibaatar et al. in prep) and the Khulan population appears back to its 1997 level.

Illegal off-take in Inner Mongolia, China seems to remain a problem.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Threats include competition with livestock for pasture and water, and illegal hunting for meat. The subspecies is also considered a pasture competitor and chased away or killed on this basis.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Although rapid infrastructure development is likely creating one of the biggest challenges for the conservation of migratory and nomadic ungulates, No Net Loss (NNL) or Net Positive Impact (NPI) policies adopted by industry, and newly emerging standards on Biodiversity Offsets (BBOP 2012) are powerful tools that may enable economic development to combine with biodiversity conservation, and offsets may actually provide a more flexible tool to conserve nomadic species (Bull et al. 2013). In Mongolia, the largest mine Oyu Tolgoi is operating on a NPI policy and Asiatic Wild Asses are a key species of concern.

Citation: Kaczensky, P., Lkhagvasuren, B., Pereladova, O., Hemami, M. & Bouskila, A. 2015. Equus hemionus ssp. hemionus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T7952A3144453. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
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