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Wild asses
Pond heron
List of mammals
The Wild Ass Sanctuary covers almost 5,000 square kilometres and was established in 1972 to protect India's last remaining population of Asiatic wild asses. This species used to have a wide distribution across Asia, but now occurs in only five countries and is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN (World Conservation Union). The Indian sub-species is classified as Endangered, with the population estimated at just 750 to 900 individuals.  For most of the year (including at the time of my visit), the Rann of Kutch is a saline desert and the hardy wild asses survive on the sparse vegetation, supplemented with night-time raids on the farmers' crops. After the annual monsoon, the area floods for a short period and grasses grow on elevated areas called 'bets' where the asses gather to feed in large herds.
Asiatic wild asses 
Asiatic wild ass Asiatic wild asses
Asiatic wild asses Asiatic wild ass
Asiatic wild ass Asiatic wild asses
Asiatic wild asses at sunset
Indian grey mongooses

Indian grey or common mongooses are famed for their ability to tackle and kill venomous snakes. But they will eat almost anything, and are often seen foraging near towns and villages - this family was busy scavenging in some roadside rubbish.
This species of mongoose has distinctive white paws, as shown by one curious individual when it stood up to get a better look at us.
Indian grey mongoose
Indian grey mongooses Indian grey mongooses

Nilgai or blue bulls

Nilgai are related to bison and buffalos and are found in India, Pakistan and Nepal. They can thrive in most habitats, including deserts like Kutch, forests and grasslands - we also saw nilgai in the Gir Forest and at Blackbuck National Park. Their strange shape, with the shoulders higher than the hindquarters, makes them look like hyenas when they run.
Indian pond heron

Pond herons are widespread in India and are often seen near human settlements. This one seemed to be resident at our lodge in Kutch.

Full list of mammals seen at the Wild Ass Sanctuary:

Asiatic wild ass
Nilgai or blue bull
Wild boar
Indian grey mongoose
Northern palm squirrel
Pond heron

Website created by Gill Sinclair
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Last updated 3 September 2007