Photo Credit: Patricia D. Moehlman

Conservation of the Critically Endangered African Wild Ass and the Endangered Grevy's Zebra in Ethiopia



The African Wild Ass (Equus africanus) is the world's most endangered equid, listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, and has a population of less than 200 individuals in Ethiopia. The Grevy's Zebra (Equus grevyi), which is listed as Endangered, has a small genetically isolated population of approximately 200 individuals in Ethiopia.

These species persist in one of the harshest climates and terrain in the world where they share and may compete for resources with local people and livestock. The two species are under pressure from hunting (for meat and for medicine) as well as competition with humans and livestock for water and grazing.


This project aims to:

  1. The project will train, equip and support scouts who will directly protect wildlife by conducting anti-poaching patrol activities and increasing community awareness for these endangered wild equids. Scout stations will be established in the two main African Wild Ass population areas, Afdera and Serdo;
  2. The project will facilitate the establishment of protected areas based on scientific information on suitable habitat and dietary overlap. Initial studies have identified optimum areas and further research conducted within the framework of the project will document seasonal presence/absence of domestic livestock. The establishment of demarcated protected areas will be based on scientific information, consensus/support of local communities with various workshops to be held with relevant stakeholders. Documentation on what areas are used by African Wild Ass will allow protected areas to be demarcated and developed by the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority. In the long-term, designated protected areas and trained community scouts will improve local and international awareness of these species and enhance their protection.


In the long-term designated protected areas and trained community Scouts will improve local and international awareness of the species and enhance its protection. 

The goal is to successfully involve the local Afar pastoral communities in the conservation of these two threatened species to accomplish the conservation actions. The project will build capacity for protection of these species as well as promote awareness and education in the communities. The establishment of two protected areas will also have a great impact on the conservation of the African Wild Ass.

This project is a part of the IUCN SOS African Wildlife initiative, which is funded by the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG Devco) through its B4Life initiative.

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