Wildlife of Pakistan


 Mammals

( Wild Asses )


 
Tibetan Wild Ass or Kiang
( Equus Kiang )

 

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Brentt Huffman

 

Local name: unknown (Urdu)

Description and Biology:

Size:

Body Length: 210 cm / 7 ft.

Shoulder Height: 140 cm / 4.6 ft.

Tail Length: 50 cm / 50 in.

Weight: 250-400 kg / 550-880 lb.

Description: The largest wild ass, the kiang was originally named by Moorcroft in 1841. The reddish brown upper parts are sharply contrasted with the pure white underparts, including the rump.This white area stretches up the ventral half (stomach-side) of the neck to the jowls. A thin stripe of brown extends down the front of the legs, which are otherwise white. Where the legs meet the body, large wedges of white reach up the sides. Along the spine is a dark dorsal stripe. The grey muzzle has a thin border of white. The summer coat is short and sparse compared to the very long, thick, browner winter coat. There is a short, dark brown mane which stands vertically, and follows the top of the neck from the ears to the shoulders. The tail has a dark brown tuft, with long hairs growing up the side.

Reproduction: Gestation Period: Almost 12 months.Young per Birth: 1 The August-September breeding season yields foals born in late July through August the next year. Small groups of 2-5 females split away from the main herd, retreating to rocky places to give birth. The young can walk and run just a few hours after birth, and mothers and foals rejoin the herd after a couple weeks. Weaning: By 12 months. Sexual Maturity: After 1 year. Life span: 20 years.

Social Behavior: Kiang live in very cohesive herds which never become scattered. Led by an old female, the herds travel in single file, and the members appear to do everything - including eating, drinking, turning, and running - in unison. Maternal herds of 5-400 animals, mature males generally solitary, although bachelor herds of up to 10 individuals form during the winter. Unlike horses, however, there is little physical contact (like mutual grooming) among animals. Males begin to follow these female herds in July, fighting amongst themselves through August for breeding rights. During mid-August, they begin herding the females into harems, defending them from rival males. Kiang are good swimmers, and during the summer months take apparent pleasure in bathing in rivers. During August and September, the only time when vegetation is plentiful, kiangs may gain up to 40-45 kg /88-100 lb.

Diet: Grasses and low plants. (all above information from "The Ulimate Ungulate Page" by Brent Huffman).

Habitat and Distribution:

The Kiang is an inhabitant of high plateaus and undulating steppe at elevations of up to 5,000 meters / 16,500 feet. The Kiang is not a permanent resident in Pakistan, but is mainly found across the border in China, with the bulk of the population mainly in Tibet. There are some reports that Kiangs migrate from China into Khunjerab National Park in the extreme north eastern border region of Pak-China. Kiang occasionally used to visit the Shimshal Pass area from China (Schaller, 1974). There are reliable reports of a small population of 20-25 animals between the lower Baraldo and Mustagh rivers on the Pakistan side of the border (Rasul, 1988; Wegge, 1988). Till further sightings are reported, this wild ass must be considered rare and in need of careful monitoring and protection.

 


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