Wild horses and donkeys dig desert wells that boost biodiversity

A donkey digging a well

E. Lundgren

Feral horses and donkeys in the Sonoran desert in North America dig their own wells, inadvertently providing a water source for other animals and increasing biodiversity in the area.

Erick Lundgren at Aarhus University in Denmark and his colleagues monitored four separate streams in part of the Sonoran desert in Arizona. The streams are usually supplied by groundwater but dry up in the summer. The team surveyed each stream every few weeks over the summers of 2015, 2016 and 2018, and found that horses and donkeys in the area dig wells there to access the groundwater.



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