We’ve all seen the terrible situation in Australia being faced by animals and humans alike. When we received an urgent request from a fellow sanctuary struggling to keep food in the troughs of rescued donkeys, we knew we had to help them face the drought left behind by the devastating Australian bushfires.

Good Samaritan Donkey Sanctuary - drought images before and after
Good Samaritan Donkey Sanctuary before and after the Australian drought
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Supplies running short

We have made a one-off £10,000 donation in response to an urgent request to help the Good Samaritan Donkey Sanctuary in Australia. Supplies of food for the donkeys are running dangerously low as a result of the terrible drought and subsequent bush fires affecting the country.

The money will help fund the purchase of a 21 ton delivery of barley straw which will be trucked to the sanctuary within three weeks. The supplies will last them through to the end of the southern hemisphere summer in April and also protect them from any price rises for feed, ensuring the donkeys have a stable supply through this unprecedented time of natural crisis.

Drone footage shows the full extent of the drought faced by the Good Samaritan Donkey Sanctuary.

Water running dry

The Good Samaritan Donkey Sanctuary is the largest in Australia, looking after 80-150 donkeys at any one time. Located in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, the sanctuary has been badly affected by the terrible drought that has hit Australia and the ongoing threat of bushfires. The sanctuary’s last onsite water catchment dam ran dry last week, and it now has to truck in 11,000 litres of water twice a week for the donkeys. But not only do they need water for the animals, they also need spare water to put out fires should one start near them - an unsettling thought, given that the last substantial rains at the sanctuary were in September 2018.

Thanks to our supporters' generosity, though, we are able to fund their two weekly water collections - ensuring the sanctuary can continually meet their donkeys' most fundamental needs throughout the Australian summer.

Helping donkeys in the time of need

The sanctuary is increasingly concerned about the lack of available feed for the donkeys. At this time of year there is usually no shortage of grazing, or locally available straw. But the land is parched and bone dry because of a lack of rain and record temperatures. There’s barely a blade of grass for the donkeys to feed on, and other local farms are facing the same challenges, making feed a very high commodity.

It has exhausted its stores of barley straw, which were intended as winter stock, and local feed suppliers have had to put a cap on the amount of feed any customer can purchase on the same day.

The Good Samaritan Donkey Sanctuary farm manager Sandy said: “We are travelling out every day to all our suppliers to get hay and straw for the next day's feed. It’s tiring and we can’t seem to get ahead at the moment, with doing everything else. It’s very stressful here, we are just concerned about feeding, watering the donkeys and taking care of them. We are just coping. The drought has hit us terribly.”

Generosity of supporters 

The situation now is critical for the sanctuary. It is still not even half way through its official ‘fire season’. Fires close to the sanctuary are currently listed as being ‘under control’ but the threat of new fires remains and the danger risk for the Hunter Valley region is still high. A hundred fires are still burning across the country and although rain and lower temperatures are forecast for later this week, there is an increased risk of thunderstorms, with lightning strikes further increasing the risk of more fires starting.

The sanctuary is on constant alert for any fires, as it would not only pose a grave danger to their buildings and farm house, but directly to the donkeys. The daily runs for feed, concerns over water and the constant looming threat of fires is putting enormous strain on the sanctuary’s limited resources.

Our own Tactical Response Lead, Simon Pope, has said: “We have all seen the utterly heart-breaking scenes unfolding in Australia for both humans and animals alike over the last few months. It’s only due to the generosity of our supporters that we can play a small part by responding in this way - helping donkeys in their time of need.

“The Good Samaritan Donkey Sanctuary have worked tirelessly, sometimes round the clock, to deal with the effects of this drought and with the threat of bushfires still hanging over them.

“When we learned just how hard it’s been for them to source feed and water for the donkeys in their care and the exhausting but determined efforts they’ve had to go to, we knew we had to help.“

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