They are a rare breed, and have an even more unusual name.
Meet the Dallas Zoo’s newest inhabitants, two Somali wild ass babies.
The zoo unveiled half-sister foals Kalila and Naima on Facebook earlier this week. They were born 10 days apart to separate moms, Liberty and Hani. Dad Abai, originally from the Basel Zoo in Switzerland, emigrated to the U.S. in 2005 in order to start a new bloodline of the asses in the United States.
“This is a big moment for our hoofstock team. Somali wild asses are critically endangered with less than 600 left in the wild,” said John Fried, the zoo’s mammal currator, in a recent press release. “Only nine institutions in the U.S. care for this rare species, and to be able to welcome two babies is truly one of the highlights of my career.”
According to the zoo’s blog, the animals have “unique zebra-striped legs, a soft gray upper body, a white belly, and a spiky black-and-gray mane,” and they are “the smallest of the wild equids.”