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Reluctant owners learn donkey care in Cameroon

Over 300 donkeys assemble in the market square of Jakiri, a town in the north-west of Cameroon. Some are ill-looking and weak, and many have wounds. Others cannot stand for long periods because they have overgrown hooves and injured legs. Their owners, nearly 100 local subsistence farmers and cattle herders, rely on their donkeys to transport goods to market and carry water and firewood for domestic use, but know little about how to look after them. That’s why they are here.

Residents of Jakiri, Cameroon, stand beside one of their many healthy donkeys

Donkeys get back on their feet in Ethiopia

A donkey lies on the muddy ground in obvious pain, her abdomen swollen like a balloon. A small crowd of people gather around, unsure what to do.

This was the disturbing sight our CEO David Cook came across during a recent visit to a clinic funded by The Donkey Sanctuary in Ethiopia to help the donkeys working in Merkato - one of the largest grain markets on the African continent - located in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. Donkeys provide a crucial means of transport here, carrying heavy bags of grain between wholesale and retail customers.

Chala with the recovered donkey at The Donkey Sanctuary clinic in Merkato, Ethiopia

Growing up in a brick kiln

In many ways Arjun is a typical 12-year-old boy. He gets bored learning his ABC and 1-2-3 in English and is proud of his school bag. Outside his lessons, however, his life allows little room for being a child. He is growing up at MA Ambapur, a brick kiln near Ahmedabad in Gujarat, India, where hundreds of people and donkeys work to produce clay-fired bricks.

Arjun, a 12-year-old donkey driver at a brick kiln in India

Making ends meet in Ethiopia

Like many people in their village, life was once a daily struggle for 42-year-old Tucha and his wife 37-year-old Yeshi Keskas as they battled to raise nine children in the remote village of Bekejo in Ada district, tucked away in Ethiopia’s Rift Valley.

“As a husband I have great responsibility for all family issues, especially economic welfare,” he says.

Harness-maker Tucha and his children in Ethiopia

Good marks for donkey owners in India

Dealing with the constant threat of thieves is a big headache for donkey owners working in brick kilns in Solapur, a district in the south of India, where for six months of the year before the rainy season people and donkeys live a hard life hauling raw clay bricks to the kilns. To deter thieves, many owners resort to branding the donkeys with hot irons so they can be identified. It’s not a good deal for either donkey or owner. Besides being painful, branding can also lead to tetanus, an infection which is all too often fatal for donkeys and costs the donkey owners money in treatment.

Donkey owner Babu Vite with his donkey branded with henna

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