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Equus hemionus ssp. onager 

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. onager Boddaert, 1785
Parent Species:
Common Name(s):
English Onager, Iranian Onager, Persian Onager
Taxonomic Notes: This is treated by Grubb in Wilson and Reeder (1993) as a species distinct from E. hemionus. This distinction has not been widely followed (see Nowak 1999).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered C1 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-05-01
Assessor(s): Hemami, M., Kaczensky, P., Lkhagvasuren, B., Pereladova, O. & Bouskila, A.
Reviewer(s): King, S.R.B. & Moehlman, P.D.
Contributor(s): Esmaeili, S., Shahriari, B. & Mohammadi, H.
Justification:
This subspecies is listed as Endangered as its authochthonous subpopulations only occur in two regions and a third recently reintroduced subpopulation is still very small. While the Bahram-e-Goor subpopulation has shown a positive trend in recent years (64% increase since 2008), this trend may not continue as threats still persist. The second subpopulation in the Touran protected area complex in northern Iran seems to have severely decreased to a mere ~145 animals (summer census 2014 - B. Shahriari pers. comm. 2014, Hamidi et al. 2012) and may well be lost within the next few years (two generations) without urgent conservation actions. The assessment is based on an estimated population size of 395 mature individuals (total population = 789 animals) in two native localities (Touran and Bahram-e-Goor), plus one very small newly reintroduced subpopulation, and a projected continuing decline of about 20% over the next 15 years (two generations) if the Touran subpopulation is lost.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Onager disappeared from western Iran in the 1930s, but were still widespread in the central and eastern arid and semi-arid plains until the 1950s. By the 1980s only four subpopulations were left. However, no Wild Asses have been reported from the Kavir National Park since 1986 and none in recent years from the once trans-boundary Sarakhs subpopulation along the border to Turkmenistan (Iranian Department of Environment (DoE), unpublished data).

Currently the Onager in Iran occurs in two autochthonous subpopulations: 1) Touran protected area network and 2) Bahram-e-Goor protected area with Qatruiyeh National Park. In addition, there is a small reintroduced subpopulation in Kalmand Protected Area.
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Iran, Islamic Republic of
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:11000Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:100000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:3Continuing decline in number of locations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:NoLower elevation limit (metres):700
Upper elevation limit (metres):2000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Equus hemionus onager occurs in two authochthonous subpopulations in Iran. The larger one is found in Qatrouiyeh National Park and the adjacent Bahram-e-Goor protected area in south-central Iran, estimated at 632 (429-939) individuals of which 15% were foals in summer 2014 (M.-R. Hemami pers. comm. 2014). While the Bahram-e-Goor subpopulation has shown a positive trend in recent years, the second subpopulation in the Touran protected area complex in northern Iran seems to have severely decreased to a mere ~145 animals (summer census 2014 - B. Shahriari pers. comm. 2014, Hamidi et al. 2012). Any potential exchange with the population in adjacent Turkmenistan is inhibited by the fence along the international border. A recent reintroduction resulted in 12 free-ranging animals in Kalmand protected area. The total population in Iran is around 790 animals, of which 395 are mature.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:395Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:Yes
No. of subpopulations:3Continuing decline in subpopulations:No
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It occurs in semi-desert habitat.
Systems:Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):7.5
Movement patterns:Unknown
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Illegal trade seems to happen primarily on a national level and stems from poaching for meat, hides and fat, which like liver, is believed to have apparent medicinal properties. Illegal off-take has been identified as a key threat outside of Qatrouiyeh National Park and may well drive the remaining subpopulation in the Touran protected area complex to extinction if not stopped.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Threats to the Onager include hunting for meat and competition from domestic livestock. Crop raiding results in negative attitudes of some locals and potentially retaliation killings. Periods of drought may also pose a threat to the population. Any potential exchange with the population in adjacent Turkmenistan is inhibited by the fence along the international border.

The upgrading the core zone of Bahram-e-Goor protected area to Qatrouiyeh National Park and providing water supplies and occasional hay resulted in an increase of the Onager population. In contrast, the large adjacent Bahram-e-Goor protected area seems to act as a sink for the population due to occupation of water sources and productive ranges by livestock coupled with insufficient capacity for ranger presence and patrolling. As a result, the Onager population is concentrated in Qatrouyeh National Park, which is starting to show signs of high herbivory pressure from Onagers.

In Touran protected area the distribution range and abundance of Onagers have been decreasing. Occupation of suitable Onager habitats by livestock, poaching (usually by chasing the animal by motorbike) and insufficient protection are the most important threats to the species in this reserve.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This subspecies is listed on CITES Appendix II. The taxon has full national protection and occurs largely within protected areas. There are increasing efforts to improve the monitoring of the population status and understand persisting threats.

Citation: Hemami, M., Kaczensky, P., Lkhagvasuren, B., Pereladova, O. & Bouskila, A. 2015. Equus hemionus ssp. onager. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T7966A3144941. . Downloaded on 14 December 2017.
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