Here is your answer:
"Pertaining to animals, the answer is yes.
A donkey, an ass, and a burro, are all the same name for the same beast. Jackass, is merely the name for a male ass, while jennett, not jillass, is the name for a female ass.
The Ancient Egyptians domesticated the sturdy ass over 5,000 years ago, for use as transportation, and to transport their belongings and commodities. This form of cheap labor, of which there are many kinds, spread throughout the world, and uses of the ass expanded to include the skin off of the ass, the meat off of it's bones, and the actual export of the ass as a commodity.
The Somali wild ass, hailing from Somalia and elsewhere in Africa, is a prime example of the versatility of the ass, as these shy animals, living together in groups of 5-20, adapt well to the desert climate, and can exist on a diet of dry grass and shrubs. The over-depletion of the versatile Somali wild ass, however, explains its rarity today. Asian wild asses, for example, the Syrian wild ass, suffered a similar fate, and can no longer be found in Syria, and in other parts of the Middle East. Man has hunted the Nubian wild ass, a northeastern African type, once living from the Nile to the Red Sea, almost to the point of extinction. Certain groups are attempting to protect the few remaining asses from being hunted and killed.
The modern ass, a descendent of the Nubian wild ass, meets the same transportation needs in Mexico, and in Central America, as it did in Ancient Egypt."
Mmm, I think the person who wrote this was overjoyed at the potential of using "ass" in an article.