Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/168

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146

'KULAN' OR WILD ASS.

over it at a trot. Hundreds and thousands may be seen on a fine day disporting themselves in the open, or basking in the sun near their holes; and although destroyed by eagles, buzzards, and hawks, wolves, foxes, and steppe-foxes, they multiply so quickly as to make up for all losses.

The most remarkable animal of the steppes of Koko-nor is the wild ass or kulan,[1] called djang by the Tangutans (Equus Kiang), in size and external appearance closely resembling the mule; the colour of the hair on the upper part of the body is light chestnut, and white underneath. We saw them first on the upper Tatung-gol, where the Kan-su mountains are unwooded, and the pasturage is good. The kulan ranges over Koko-nor, Tsaidam, and Northern Tibet, but it is found in the greatest numbers in the first-named country.

The steppes, however, are not its exclusive habitat; it is also found in the mountains wherever grass and water are abundant. We occasionally saw it on the lofty mountains of Northern Tibet, grazing with the kuku-yamans. The kulans mostly keep in troops of ten to fifty; larger herds of several hundred being only met with in the vicinity of Koko-nor; and it is not probable that they often congregate in such large numbers, for when seen by us they invari-

  1. A woodcut of this animal, after Wolf, will be found in Yule's 'Marco Polo,' 2nd ed., vol. i. p. 227. It was described by Pallas and Moorcroft. See also Hooker's 'Himalayan Journals,' vol. ii. p. 172. — M. Some naturalists have distinguished the Kiang, Pallas's Dshiggetai, from the Kulan of Western Turkestan, the Ghorkhar of Persia. The late Mr. Blyth (Jour. As. Soc. Bengal, vol. xxviii.) says they differ only in shades of colour and unimportant markings. — Y.