Shelley Fifer is an Administrator for the Veterinary Department at The Donkey Sanctuary. She has worked for the Sanctuary for nine years and has recently visited our Sanctuary in Italy; Il Rifugio degli Asinelli. She has written a series of blogs to give supporters an insight into the team in Italy’s amazing work.
Nestling at the foothills of the Alps is our Italian Sanctuary Il Rifugio degli Asinelli. Like all farms and woodlands they have a variety of animals and insects. Some are welcome, others not quite so much!
Now as most people know flies are extremely annoying and worse so for our animals. Those who work with or own equines will be familiar with pesky Horseflies… The Italians call them Tafani’s! They sound like drones passing by and are a huge nuisance with a nasty bite. To help protect the donkeys and mules on the farm there are several Big H Traps, the shape reminds the flies of a donkeys tummy and once they are in they cannot escape. It is designed to capture females as they need to feed on blood to lay eggs, therefore stopping the reproduction cycle and helping to keep our donkeys more comfortable.
On the flipside if you are a regular bug or winged creature you will find a 4* Hotel fitting all your requirements. Lovingly made from recycled material by the Farm Manager Dennis and son Flavio, plenty of room to nest and make new friends.
Il Rifugio is also home to birds of prey like buzzards, and other birds including cuckoo’s (that you can hear, but not see!), winter wrens, jays, motacilla alba. And plenty of mammals like Red squirrels, foxes, and roe deer. There are several kinds of snakes and lizards too, although the lizards were far too quick on their feet to be caught on camera!