kulan

Kulan - Equus hemionus kulan

Family:
Horses and Asses (Perissodactyla Equidae)
Status:
Endangered

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Taxonomic status

Scientific name

Equus hemionus kulan

Common name

Kulan

Synonyms

Turkmen Kulan, Turkmenian Wild Ass

Comments on the subspecies

Because the subspecies 'Equus hemionus kulan', or 'Kulan', is one of LHNet's priority species, it has been given its own information page.

There is some doubt whether the following two subspecies of the Asiatic Wild Ass, E. h. onager and E. h. kulan, are sufficiently different to be classified in two subspecies of the Asiatic Wild Ass. This needs to be clarified since it could affect the Onager populations in Iran and the Kulan populations in Turkmenistan, as well as the introduced hybrid population in Israel.

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Species information

Physical characteristics

No significant differences between the Asiatic Wild Ass and the E. h. kulan are known. More information is most welcome.

For species information: see Asiatic Wild Ass.

Running Kulan

Running Kulan

Habitat, behaviour, food and reproduction

No significant differences between the Asiatic Wild Ass and the E. h. kulan are known. More information is most welcome.

Predation

No significant differences between the Asiatic Wild Ass and the E. h. kulan are known. More information is most welcome.

Population size and trends

The Kulan (E. h. kulan) populations in 2005 were approximately 1,300 in Turkmenistan (Badkyz Reserve 850-900 and 445 animals on seven reintroduction sites (Lukarevskiy and Gorelov 2007)).

The Kulan has experienced a recent dramatic decline in its main population in Turkmenistan. The population in the Badkyz Preserve declined from 6,000 in 1993, to 2,400 in 1998 to 646 in 2000 (Feh et al. 2002). From 1995 to 2000 the estimated number of Kulan in reintroduction sites was approximately 320.

In 1992 the reintroduced populations in Kazakhstan were Barsa-Khelmes Island: 96 animals; Aktau-Busatchinski: uncertain; Andasaiski reserve: 164; Kaptchagaiskoye: 150 (in total 410 animals).
In 1999, the reintroduced populations in Kazakhstan in these four sites was approximately 900 animals (Pereladova and Baidavletov pers. com. 2006).

The reintroduced population in Uzbekistan in Dzheiran Ecocentre was 34 in 1991 (Feh et al. 2002).

The hybrid E. h. onager x E. h. kulan population in Israel numbered 100 in 2000.

The hybrid E. h. onager x E. h. kulan population in Israel numbered 100 in 2000.
AreaNumbersDevelopment
World~ 2,500Unknown
Kazakhstan - four reintroduction sites (Barsa-Khelmes Island, Aktau-Busatchinski, Andasaiski reserve, Kaptchagaiskoye)900Raise from 410 animals in 1992 to 900 in 1999; recent trend unknown
Turkmenistan - Badkyz Nature Reserve 900Decrease from 6.000 animals in 1993 to 646 animals in 2000; raise to 850-900 in 2005; seems to be stabelized in 2007
Turkmenistan - seven reintroduction sites other than Badkyz Nature Reserve 445In 1995-2000 about 320 animals, raised to 445 animals in 2005
Uzbekistan - Dzheiran Ecocentre 25-342011; increasing
Israel - hybrid population (E. h. onager x E. h. kulan)100Population number is from 2000; recent trend unknown

Captive populations

MalesFemalesUnknownsBirths (last 12 months)
World ~347229
Estonia - Tallinn Zoo 39
Germany - Rostock Zoologischer Garten 2412
Germany - Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde GmbH 363
Poland - Miejski Ogrod Zoologiczny w Lodz 121
Poland - Park i Ogrod Zoologiczny w Krakowie 23
Poland - Zoo Safari Swierkocin 65
Slovakia - Zoologicka Zahrada Bratislava611
Sweden - Kolmardens Djurpark AB 142
Ukraine - Nikolaev Zoo of Nikolaev-City Council 33
USA - San Diego Zoo Safari Park 34
Others1026
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Distribution: maps, historical and current

Countries

Landscapes

Interactive map

Equus hemionus kulan – Kulan: historical distribution
Source: Moehlman, 2002; Yasynetska, 2002 from LHF Status Report 2007


View Kulan - historical distribution in a larger map

Equus hemionus kulan – Kulan: current distribution
Source: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species


View Kulan - current distribution in a larger map

Further map information

The Badkyz Nature Reserve (green balloon in the current distribution map) is the area where the Kulan still naturally occurs. All other areas are reintroduction sites as far as known. The borders of these areas or breeding centres are unknown.

The Badkyz Nature Reserve (green balloon in the current distribution map) is the area where the Kulan still naturally occurs. All other areas are reintroduction sites as far as known.

Historical distribution

No significant differences between the Asiatic Wild Ass and the E. h. kulan are known. More information is most welcome.


Current distribution

The Kulan can be found in Turkmenistan, and is re-introduced in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.

There is also a reintroduced population in Israel that is of hybrid origin (E. h. onager and E. h. kulan).

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Threats

Perhaps the greatest threat to the populations of Asiatic Wild Ass appears to be the potential for catastrophic population declines due to poaching (Lukarevskii pers. comm. 2001, Feh et al 2002). An example is the Kulan population in the Badkyz Reserve, Turkmenistan. During the summer months this population migrates to the Kuska River, which is 100 km outside of the protected area. There it is poached with the consequence that the population encountered a catastrophic decline in the late 1990s. The critical situation of the Badkyz Reserve Kulans clearly illustrates how swiftly isolated equid populations can be decimated and potentially driven to extinction during a period of a few years.

Natural disasters like diseases and/or drought are "stress events" that are a constant threat to the small, isolated populations.

Continued fragmentation and marginalisation of the small populations could result in extinctions. These isolated populations are demographically and genetically vulnerable.

The critical situation of the Badkhys Reserve Kulans clearly illustrates how swiftly isolated equid populations can be decimated and potentially driven to extinction during a period of a few years

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Conservation information

IUCN Red List

Endangered: A2abc+3bd (2008)

EU Wildlife trade regulation EC Reg. 338/97

Annex A

Bonn convention

Appendix II

Conservation status

The Kulan population in Badkyz Preserve has declined by approximately 90% in a three year period. Improved protection from poaching is needed both within the reserve and along the summer migration route to the Kushka River. The ecological requirements of this population need to be determined and an ecosystem analysis made of their habitat in order to prepare a long-term sustainable management plan.

In Turkmenistan and Iran, the management of the Onager and Kulan would greatly benefit from increased knowledge of basic behaviour and ecology. Such information would provide a better understanding of threats to these populations. In particular, as the potential for escalating human-wildlife conflict increases during droughts, a short-term study to understand the seasonal movement patterns of the Badkyz Kulan population in Turkmenistan, and the places where conflicts are taking place, might help to address how best to protect this population.

Socio-economic aspects

No information available

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Library

Network meetings

Posters and illustrations

Presentations

Reports

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Experts and scientific referees

IUCN SSC

For more detailed information view the 'Kulan - Equus hemionus kulan' page on to the IUCN Red List of threatened species.

Ghoddousi, Arash

Conservation biologist. Iran
Plan for the Land Society
www.plan4land.org

Pereladova, Olga

WWF Central Asia Regional programme. Scientific research on acoustic communication, behaviour, ecology, conservation and restoration.
WWF Russia
www.wwf.ru/eng

Saltz, David

Conservation, Persian fallow deer, Asiatic wild ass, Arabian oryx, Mountain gazelle, Ibex; Israel, Mediterranean and desert; Modeling and analysis
Ben Gurion University, Israel

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Sources

Pereladova O.B., Kuznetsov V.I., Baidavletov R.J.

2002, The kulan in Central Asia, Russian Conservation News, 28: 22-24

Bahloul K., Pereladova O.B., Soldatova N., Fisenko G., Sidorenko E., Sempere A.J.

2001, Social organization and dispersion of introduced kulans (Equus hemionus kulan) and Przewalski horses (Equus przewalski ) in the Bukhara Reserve, Uzbekistan, Journal of Arid Environments, 47: 309–323

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All comments on Kulan (Equus hemionus kulan)

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