A pair of donkeys in need of urgent veterinary care, who were found wandering loose on a Cumbrian mountain road, have been rescued by international animal welfare charity, The Donkey Sanctuary.

Daisy and Thistle were spotted by motorists passing through the Lake District National Park, home to some of England’s highest mountains, in May 2020.

The donkeys who had severely overgrown hooves and bold patches on their coats, were walking along the side of a mountain in the Langdale area of the park.

Twelve-year-old Daisy and eleven-year-old Thistle had access to the whole of Wrynose Fell. Without intervention, the donkeys could have become stranded if they wandered too far into the mountain’s high peaks and steep slopes.

Following a call from a concerned member of the public, Donkey Welfare Adviser, Adele Crompton travelled to the mountainside with an RSPCA inspector, a vet and two officers from Cumbria Police.

On closer inspection, the Donkey Welfare Adviser could see the donkeys needed urgent veterinary care. Their hooves were misshapen and twisted, indicating they had not seen a farrier for quite some time. Their coats were in poor condition, with missing patches of hair leaving their delicate skin exposed to the sun.

Adele said: “Once they were safely caught, I could see that their feet were very badly twisted, which would have caused them considerable discomfort. They were clearly struggling to walk.

“It was good thing we were able to step in when we did. The road they were on had several blind bends, and there is a chance that they could have been involved in a traffic collision.

“It would have been a tragedy for not just the donkeys, but for any motorist who saw them too late.”

The RSPCA and the police made contact with Daisy and Thistle’s owner; they agreed for the donkeys to be relinquished into the care of The Donkey Sanctuary.

After arriving into the care of The Donkey Sanctuary, Daisy and Thistle received expert veterinary care, including dental work and farrier attention to their feet. They have since settled into their new environment quickly and have made good progress on their road to recovery.

Sally Bamforth, Donkey Welfare Adviser at The Donkey Sanctuary said: “Daisy and Thistle have continued to do well. The condition of their coats and hooves have considerably improved.

“We are awaiting further assessment to see whether the damage sustained to their hooves is long term, or has improved to an extent where they may be eligible for our Rehoming Scheme.

“They have enjoyed being handled and receiving daily attention, and they are looking towards a much rosier future.”

The Donkey Sanctuary is a global leader for equine welfare, research and veterinary care. The charity operates programmes worldwide for animals working in agriculture, industry and transportation.


For interviews, images and information please contact The Donkey Sanctuary press office on 01395 573124 or 07970 927778 (including out of hours) or send an email.

Notes to Editors

The Donkey Sanctuary is the world's largest equine welfare charity. Our vision is a world where donkeys and mules live free from suffering and their contribution to humanity is fully valued. We run 10 sanctuaries around the UK and Europe, giving lifelong care to more than 7,000 donkeys and mules. Our hospital treats sick donkeys and trains vets both nationwide and worldwide. Our donkey-facilitated learning programme helps vulnerable children and adults develop life skills by connecting with donkeys on an emotional and physical level. The charity operates programmes worldwide for animals working in agriculture, industry and transportation, and those used in the production of meat and skin.

Please note that the name ‘The Donkey Sanctuary’ should not be abbreviated to ‘Donkey Sanctuary’, and the word ‘The’ should always appear with a capital ‘T’ as above.