India Post today released 2 stamps and a miniature sheet on Wild Ass of Ladakh and Gujrat .Wild Ass is an endangered species and this stamp issue will highlight this ignored animal.Several countries like Mangolia and Israel released stamps on wild ass in previous years.
The Indian wild ass, as with most other Asian wild ass subspecies, is quite different from theAfrican species . The animal possesses an erect, dark mane which runs from the back of the head and along the neck.The Indian wild ass\’s range once extended from western India , through Sindhand Baluchistan, and south-eastern Iran. Today, its last refuge lies in the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary, Little Ran of Kutch ,Gujrat.It seems to be increasing in numbers and extending its range from Little Rann of Kutch, where the world\’s last population of this subspecies had got confined to in recent years, and has gradually started moving out and colonizing Greater Rann of Kutch also extending into the neighboring Rajasthan .The animal feeds on grass, leaves and fruits of plant, crop It is one of the fastest of Indian animals, with speeds clocked at about 70 – 80 km. per hour and can easily outrun a jeep. Stallions live either solitarily, or in small groups of twos and threes while family herds remain large. Mating season is in rainy season.
From 1958-1960, the wild ass became a victim of a disease known as surra.Besides disease, the ass\’s other threats include habitat degradation due to salt activities, the invasion of the juliflora Conservation efforts since 1969 have helped boost the animal\’s population to 4000.First census of the wild ass was done in 1940, when there were an estimated 3,500 wild asses. But, by the year 1960, this figure fell to just 362, it was then classified as a highly endangered species. In the years 1973 & 1976, Rann of Kutch and adjoining districts were taken up as the area for conservation for this sub-species. From 1976, the forest department began conducting the Wild Ass census. In 1998, Wild Ass population was estimated at 2,940, by the year 2004 it has increased to an estimated 3,863. A recent census conducted by forest department in 2009 has revealed that the population of wild ass in the state was now estimated to about
4,038, an increase of 4.53% as compared to 2004. This population of wild ass is the only gene pool of Indian Wild Ass (Khur) in the entire world and one of the six geographical varieties or sub-species surviving on the planet.
Wild Ass of ladakh is also a large animal, with a body length of about 7 feet & shoulder height of 4 ½ feet. They weigh on the average 250 to 400 kilograms. They have a luxuriant dark brown coat with a dark mane. The legs, belly & inner aspect of external ears are white. The tail is long, with a tuft of dark hairs.They live together in herds of up to 200 animals, usually lead by an old female. Males are generally solitary, except in the breeding season of July-August.