The wild Persian ass is struggling to avoid extinction in Iran. The animals were once common across central Asia and the Middle East, but no more than 400 of them remain today. Since the Iranian revolution in 1978, uncontrolled hunting and habitat destruction have wiped out 90 percent of the population. Ass fans are pinning their hopes on a project begun four years ago to breed the wild animals in captivity; six of the captive animals are now reproducing successfully.

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