By the dawn of the 16th century the semi-striped legs of ‘cebros’ or ‘zebros’ (the European wild ass) trotted for the last time across the open “savanna-like” ‘dehesa’
and ‘montado’ of Spain and Portugal until they met their end at the hand of human hunters. During pre-Roman times these ‘cebros’ even ranged further afield across the European steppe from the United
Kingdom to Ukraine, but in the face of civilisation these populations diminished––as did most of the other larger mammals––until the last herds went the way of the dodo on the Iberian Peninsula.
Its extinction seemed firmly
sealed until recent genetic studies proved that the cebro or European wild ass was not a distinct species, but rather a variation or subspecies of the Asiatic wild ass (Equus hemionus) which are known by various names across the Asian range––including
hemione, onager, kulan, khur and kiang. As a whole the Asiatic wild ass still remain at threat from illegal hunting, disease and habitat loss, but at least the hope remains that sound conservation project may one day again reintroduce the once iconic ‘Cebro’
or ‘Zebro’ to the wilds of the Mediterranean.
by Marcel van der Merwe II
The Lost Wilderness
#The Rewilding Foundation - Working with others to rewild nature
#Grupo Guadalajara WWF