People, Environment

Persian Onagers Increasing in Touran Wildlife Refuge

The onager, also known as hemione, is native to Asia.The onager, also known as hemione, is native to Asia.

The number of Persian onagers in Touran Wildlife Refuge, located in Semnan Province, has doubled in the past 10 years, the director of the sanctuary said.

The results were obtained after an annual survey was carried out by 23 teams deployed to the region on July 28-29, Ahmad Radman told Mehr News Agency.

"This is a sign of our protection efforts paying off," he said, without stating the exact number of onagers in the sanctuary.

Covering 1.4 million hectares, the wildlife refuge southeast of Shahroud is Iran's second largest reserve.

In addition to the onager, Touran has the largest population of Asiatic cheetah and two species of gazelles: goitered gazelle and Indian gazelle, both in good numbers. There are also wild sheep and goats in the reserve.

The onager, also known as hemione, is a species of the family Equidae (horse family) native to Asia. Five subspecies have been recognized in the family, one of which is extinct.

Other than deserts, it lives in grasslands, plains, steppes and savannahs. Like many other large grazing animals, the onager's range has contracted greatly under the pressure of poaching and habitat loss.


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