This undated image courtesy of Biologist Erick Lundgren shows a mule deer doe and fawn using a donkey well. | Photo Credit: They found that wells dug by the “equids” to depths of up to six feet increased water availability for many native desert species For thousands of years, horses and donkeys have been some of our species’ most important partners. A new study published Thursday shows they’re also friends to desert animals and plants, by digging deep wells that provide a vital source of water, especially at the height of summer. Biologist Erick Lundgren, lead author of the paper in Science , told AFP he first began noticing the phenomenon while working in western Arizona as a field technician studying river systems. “People just didn’t think it was worthy of scientific attention,” said the scientist, who is now at the University of Technology Sydney. Lundgren had read about African elephants digging wells that were the only source of water for other animals during the dry season, and wanted to know if horses and donkeys might play a similar role in America. The idea was intriguing, “especially since donkeys and horses are considered agents of biodiversity harm” as they […]


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