Kulan (Equus Hemionus) an ungulative animal from the horse’s family. Outwardly, it resembles a donkey or a horse of Przhevalsky, but this is a freeloving animal, unlike similar relatives, has never been tamed by a person. However, scientists were able to prove through DNA examination that Kulans are distant ancestors of all modern donkeys living on the African continent. In ancient times, they could also be found on the territory of North Asia, the Caucasus and Japan. Fasted remains were found even in Arctic Siberia. Kulan was first described by scientists in 1775.
Description of Kulan
In terms of color, Kulan more resembles the horse of Przhevalsky, as it has a beige wool, which is lighter in the face and in the abdomen. The dark mane stretches throughout the spine and has a fairly short and hard pile. The wool in summer is shorter and straighter, by winter they become longer and curly. The tail is thin and short, having a kind of brush at the end.
The total length of the kulan reaches 170-200 cm, the height from the beginning of the hooves to the end of the body is 125 cm, the weight of a mature individual ranges from 120 to 300 kg. Kulan is larger than an ordinary donkey, but less than a horse. Another distinctive feature of it is tall ears of an oblong shape and a massive head. At the same time, the animal’s legs are quite narrow, and the hooves are elongated.
Lifestyle and nutrition
Kulans herbivores, therefore, eat plant foods. They are not whimsical for food. Very sociable in the native habitat. Love companies of other kulans, but the rest are treated with caution. The stallions zealously protect their mares and foals. Unfortunately, more than half of the offspring of kulans dies, not even reaching puberty, that is, two years. The reasons are different these are predators and lack of power.
Often adult males are united in order to resist the wolves, fighting off hooves. However, the main means of protecting kulans from predators is a speed that, like rope horses, can reach 70 km per hour. Unfortunately, their speed is less than the speed of the pool flight, which often shortens the life of this beautiful animal. Despite the fact that Kulans are a protected look, poachers often hunt for them due to valuable skin and meat. Farmers simply shoot them in order to get rid of excess mouths eating plants that could be saturated with pets.
Thus, the life expectancy of kulans in the wild is only 7 years. In captivity, this period doubles.
Asian wild donkeys and horses of Przhevalsky initially inhabited the steppe, semi-desert and desert areas, but the horses of Przhevalsky died out in the wild, and the kulans disappeared at the beginning of the 20th century, with the exception of a small population in Turkmenistan. Since then, these animals have been under guard.
Bukhara breeding center (Uzbekistan) was created in 1976 for reinnering and preserving the types of wild ungulates. In 1977-1978, five kulans (two males and three females) from the island of Barca-Kelmes in the Aral Sea were released into the reserve. In 1989-1990, the group increased to 25-30 individuals. At the same time, eight horses of Przhevalsky from the Moscow and St. Petersburg zoos were brought to the territory.
In 1995-1998, an analysis of the behavior of the same species was carried out, which showed that the kulans are more adapted to the conditions of the semi-desert (go to the article “Animal deserts and semi-deserts).
Thus, thanks to the coordinated actions of Uzbek breeders, today kulans can be found not only in the vastness of the reserve of Uzbekistan, but also in the northern part of India, Mongolia, Iran and Turkmenistan.