Visitors to Chester Zoo this month are in for a treat, as they have the chance to see a newborn onager, which is the rarest type of equine in the world.

The onager is an Asiatic wild ass, closely related to the donkey, that is native to the semi-desert regions of Iran.

An as-yet unnamed male foal was born on 10 June to Zarrinon and keepers report he is doing “very well”.

The type is classified as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation as it is declining rapidly due to poaching and disease.

There are only around 400 left in the wild. But Chester Zoo is part of an international conservation scheme and now has six onagers.

“Sadly, as the rarest species of equid in the world, there is a very real possibility that they could become extinct in the wild,” said Tim Rowlands of Chester Zoo.

“Constant conservation attention is required to secure the future of the species,” he added.

For more information visit www.chesterzoo.org.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (28 June 2012)