The horse. has its origin North. Although there are some arguments. taking into account the survival of wild camels in to historic times it seems probable that the process of domestication began somewhere in the Arabian Peninsula. There are65 and 3.5 million horses in the world and Africa respectively. The horse population in Africa and 2.4th of these in the world.
Horses unlike donkeys are associated in their evolution with the more temperature. Savannah environments of western Asia and Central Europe. Horses may be expected to have a lower tolerance of the stress of water deprivation and therefore, and may not be as successful as the donkey as a working animal in situations of limited water availability.
Their large size allows them to generate considerably more draught force than could a donkey and their more traceable nature is desirable, as is the higher status they confer on their owners. Horses are Preferred equines on account of their quicker pace although they are susceptible to diseases and injury and need a better-quality feed than donkeys.
Horse meat the lipid content of which is low is particularly recommended for children and old people. Horses especially in developed countries are owned by rich people, for racing, riding, patrolling and for other official purposes. In under developed countries they are used for riding and transport of materials too. Because of their faster pace and behavior horses were used in wars in older times. In Ethiopia they transport farm products from the rural areas to the markets in towns mainly in the west highland “Dega” regions. Horses are known to pull carts that serve as “taxis” in a number of towns in Northern Parts of Ethiopia they are used for ploughing.
The camels in general belongs to Camelus Dromedarius, the one humped camel, the dromedary or the Arabian camel and Camelus bactrianus, the Bactrian or the two humped camels.
The dromedary is mainly found in northern Africa, west Africa the Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Northern Kenya, the near East and west central Asia. The Bactrian camel inhabits the colder areas of southern Russia, Mongolia, east central Asia and China.
Camelus dromedarius best fits the requirements to survive in hot arid areas such as maintenance of its body temperature and water conservation. Unlike in most mammals in which fat is spread over the body surface under the skin and reduce the rate of evaporation of sweat, fat is concentrated in the hump in in camels and enables sweat to be evaporated easily over the rest of the body u face. Camel has also a high capability to concentrates its urine as a means of minimizing water loss. Camel can loss 25% of its body weight over a period of time without loss in appetite. When water is available camels rehydrate rapidly and can regain the lost weight in 10 minutes by drinking. The camel is also able to save energy through rising its body temperature during the day, thus absorbing heat which would otherwise have to be dissipated by some means of cooling.
There are about 11.5 million camels in East Africa (Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti) representing over 80% of the Africa and two-third of the world camel population. Ethiopia possesses about 1.06 million camels which are distributed in a wide area mainly in the North-eastern, eastern all Southern part of the country and are the mainstay of more than 2 million pastorals. Different types of camels of diverse Origin are tit known to exist in Ethiopia. Some types are name based on the tribes that rare them, as Afar camel or lssa camel, etc.
Camels are used for riding, packing, for traction and provide milk and meat to the cam& herders. They serve as sources of cash, means of storing wealth and as prestige to-the owners. With increasing desertification and drought in the tropics the potential of camels for sustainable food production makes them the future animals in livestock production in the arid and semi-arid areas of the tropics.
The total mule population of the world is about 15.5 million. There are about 2.3 million mules in Africa. Ethiopia possesses about 1.5 million mules accounting for more than 65% of mules in Africa and 9.7% of those in the world. Mules are the products of cross breeding of marts with jack asses and are known to be sterile although there are a number of reports from different parts of the world indicating their fertility. Mules are preferred because of their modest demands for feed and shelter as compared to horses and their surefootedness on rough, stony hill trials. They play an important role as working animals in many parts” of the world, employed for packing, riding, carting and plough. Mules are used almost exclusively as riding animals in most parts of Ethiopia although they also serve as pack animals.
Despite their fewer number as compared to donkeys they also play an important role in transporting construction materials, agricultural products and other materials as well as human beings, particularly in the rural Ethiopia. In some regions of western Ethiopia, such as kaffa, more people own mules with about equal ratio as horses and donkeys. In most weds of the country, mules arc owned by fewer people thin donkeys and horses. Although fewer in number than donkeys and horses mules contribute a lot to the agricultural economy and rural transportation in Ethiopia.
The donkey, Eques asinus, is one of the oldest domesticated assumed to have evolved from the Africa wild ass, which once roamed across the drier regions of cast and north Africa trim Somalia to Morocco. Some wild donkeys are still found in the arid or steppe regions of Africa and the Middle East.
The world and African donkey population is about 4 and 12 million, respectively. Ethiopia has been estimated to have over 4 million donkeys accounting for 55% of the equine population in Ethiopia. 32.4% of the donkey population in Africa and 9.8% of the world donkey population. There are two species of donkeys in Africa: Equus asinu africanus, the Nubian donkeys in the north between the Mediterranean coast and the Sahara Desert and Equus asinus somalensis. the Somali breed, distributed from the further East to the South of the Red Sea. With unplanned mating and expensive use of donkeys as pack animals in trade and transporting war ammunitions to-and from Ethiopia for centuries Ethiopian donkeys are of mixed breeds There are variation in the color and size of donkeys_ The two types of donkeys in Africa and Ethiopia are mainly grey in color.
Donkeys are considered as a desert or arid zone mammal, tolerant of high radiant heat. poor forage and periods of restricted water. They tolerate a wide range of ambient temperature (0-30°C). Donkeys are animals that can adapt to the dry environment almost as efficient as camels. They prefer dry and prickly thistle and rough coarse herbage to succulent pasture. It has been shown that donkeys maintain themselves as adequately as goats or camels on low quality roughage.
Donkeys are found throughout the vast territories if Ethiopia. Donkeys are mostly owned by full farmers and sometimes known as poor man’s horses. The majority of Donkeys in Ethiopia are found on the highland regions where the 90 % of the people live and mixed crop livestock production system is practiced.
Donkeys are used for transportation in Africa, Latin America and Asia. In highly developed countries modem means of transportation have replaced the animal power. In Ethiopia, they are mainly used as pack animals particularly where modem means of transportation are not available or unsuitable due to impossible terrain. Donkeys are the best beast of burden with short snag legs to go down sleepy; copes and climb up almost vertical hills carrying heavy loads. They are known to play an important role in transporting goods from the rural areas to the towns and vice versa. In this regard they are the sole means of transport in transporting crop and coffee from impassable highlands to the markets. In many parts of the country, they transport water, farm products, fuel wood, construction materials. With the expensive cost of vehicles and inaccessibility of vast territories of land to vehicles and tolerance of donkeys to drought and a wide range of temperature, donkeys have a lot in store to serve the agricultural economy of Ethiopia.