We want to keep you informed about our response to the coronavirus outbreak. Here are the answers to some of the most common FAQs we receive.

Due to the new Covid-19 guidance issued by the Government, our Sidmouth sanctuary will temporarily close to visitors from Thursday 31 December. The decision was made following the announcement that the Devon area is to join Tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions.

Our other sanctuaries across the UK remain temporarily closed.

Our grooms and farm staff continue to ensure that resident donkeys receive the highest level of care.

We look forward to welcoming visitors back to our sites as soon as it is safe to do so. The safety of our visitors, staff and donkeys is paramount and is an overriding factor in our decision making. We will never be distracted from our core mission of putting donkeys first, second and third in everything we do.

Frequently asked questions

Donkey welfare

Can I still call if I am concerned about the welfare of a donkey?

As we adapt to the situation and most recent government guidance we have had to make significant changes to the way we work to keep each other safe and still reach donkeys most in need of our help.

Our welfare office team is now working from home but we are still on hand to provide advice and discuss any donkey welfare concerns you may have.

Our team of Donkey Welfare Advisers will review any welfare concerns reported to us and respond accordingly.


If you are concerned about the welfare of a donkey or mule in England, Scotland or Wales please get in touch.

You can complete our online checklist or alternatively, call our welfare advice line on 01395 578222 Monday-Friday 8.30am-4.30pm to speak to our experienced welfare team.

If your concern is an emergency and falls outside our normal office hours you will be directed to our emergency help line.

Advice for donkey owners and Donkey Guardians

If you are a donkey owner or Donkey Guardian worried about caring for your animals during the Covid-19 outbreak, we are still here for you. Please read our specific guidance on what you can do to help your donkeys and mules if you self-isolate or become unwell.

Visiting our sanctuaries

How long will your sanctuaries remain closed?

All of The Donkey Sanctuary UK sanctuaries (Sidmouth, Belfast, Birmingham, Ivybridge, Leeds, Manchester) will remain temporarily closed in line with government guidance while we continue to focus our efforts on ensuring our resident donkeys receive the highest level of care by our dedicated grooms who continue to work as normal.

We'll keep you updated with any changes on our website and social media channels. In the meantime, you can still see our wonderful donkeys on our 24/7 livestream webcams.

What happens to my pre-booked tickets to visit Sidmouth?

If you have pre-booked tickets to visit the sanctuary in the coming days you will be able to rearrange your trip when the sanctuary reopens.

Will staff still have access to sanctuaries?

Currently, only essential staff (grooms, for example) have access to our closed sanctuaries while the rest of our workforce work from home where possible.

What is the situation with your sanctuaries in Ireland, Italy and Spain?

Due to the outbreak of Covid-19 (coronavirus) in Ireland, Italy and Spain, we have taken the decision to close our sanctuaries to visitors and service users.

Our resident donkeys are not affected and they will continue to receive the highest level of care by our dedicated staff.

What happens to your donkeys while your sanctuaries are closed?

Our resident donkeys will continue to receive the highest level of care by our dedicated grooms who continue to work as normal.

How many donkeys do you have in total at your sanctuaries?

We have 7,000 donkeys and mules in our care across the UK and Europe.

Can people catch coronavirus from donkeys?

There is no evidence that people can catch coronavirus from donkeys.

Can donkeys catch coronavirus from people?

There is no evidence that donkeys can catch coronavirus from people.

Adopt a Donkey

If I adopt a donkey, will I still get my adoption pack in the post?

Yes. Thank you so much for adopting a donkey, you will still receive your adoption pack in the post. We aim to get this to you within 14 days of receiving your order.

Will I still receive updates about my Adoption donkey?

Yes. We are currently still able to send out updates about our adoption donkeys. Remember to follow Adopt a Donkey on Facebook and Twitter to see regular updates from all of our adoption donkeys.

I’ve just renewed my adoption; will I still receive my new portraits?

Yes. Thank you so much for renewing your adoption for another year. We are still able to send you your new portraits. We aim to get these to you within 14 days.

I pay for my adoption by Direct Debit, will I still receive my new portraits on my anniversary?

Yes. Thank you so much for adopting a donkey by Direct Debit. We are still able to send you your new portraits following the anniversary of your adoption. We aim to get these to you within 14 days.

I paid for my adoption with a one off payment, will I still receive a reminder when it’s time to renew my adoption?

Yes. Thank you so much for adopting a donkey. If you paid for your adoption with a one off payment we will send you a reminder to renew when your adoption is due to expire. Don't forget you can always renew your adoption online.

Can I still visit my adopted donkey?

Due to the UK wide Covid-19 lockdown our sanctuaries are temporarily closed to visitors and service users.


Will you be processing my recent postal donation?

Yes. Postal donations will be processed, however, we have a smaller than usual team onsite, so there may be a delay in the processing.

We kindly ask that you consider donating online for the time being. This will mean that the money reaches us straight away and it will not need to be manually processed.

Online Shop

I have received a gift catalogue, can I still send in my order?

Yes, we are able to process gift catalogue postal orders.

What has changed for EU deliveries?

You can still place an order on our Online Shop. However, please note that you will be required to pay additional import duties and taxes when your order reaches your country.

As a consequence of Brexit, from 1 January 2021 all shipments to the EU are sent DAP (Delivery At Place). This means that any eventual import duties and relevant taxes are charged upon arrival in the destination country.

Will you be processing my recent postal order?

Yes. We have now processed and posted all orders from our Christmas gift catalogue we received before Christmas. If you have any queries about your order please send us an email.

(Updated: 19/01/21, 13:57 GMT)