The Sidmouth-based Donkey Sanctuary has recently moved into a problem-hotspot in northern Ethiopia to tackle donkey welfare issues through a combined approach of veterinary intervention and community education.
Home to more than 1,000 donkeys used extensively for carrying water to produce Chat (a stimulant leaf), Gonbat village is the newest site to be visited by the charity’s mobile team in the Amhara region.
The charity has found 56% of the donkeys there are suffering with some form of injury; back sores and hobbling wounds being the most common and horrific.
The team visits every Thursday to address primary donkey welfare issues by treating sick and injured donkeys and offering education sessions and harness training to owners.
In a recent report sent in to the Sanctuary’s Devon headquarters by vet clinician and project leader for Amhara - Dr Teshome Worku, he said: “A young boy presented us with his lame donkey; its left fore limb had a severe wound which was swollen and oozing with pus. Talking to the boy revealed that he’d hobbled the donkey nine months ago in an attempt to have better control over his animal. The nylon string he had used had penetrated deep into the tissues making the donkey severely lame. Unable to work the donkey, his family decided to abandon it and the father tied it to a tree so that hyenas would kill and eat it. But a local man passing by recognised the donkey and drove it back to the owner’s house to encourage them to bring the donkey to our new Donkey Sanctuary clinic.
“We conducted minor surgery to remove the 20cm piece of nylon string and the moment marked the end of the suffering of the nameless donkey, which I loved to call “Terefe” literally meaning ‘the survivor’.
“Terefe made a full recovery and was used for our education sessions both with adults and children, being a living witness of the consequences suffered by donkeys when nylon string/rope is used as a hobble. By the end of both sessions participants reached an agreement not to use nylon ropes for hobbling again and advised others in the community not to do the same.”
The Donkey Sanctuary has two clinics and five mobile teams working tirelessly in donkey welfare problem-hotspots of Ethiopa, with bases in the regions of Amhara, Tigray, Debre Zeit, the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region and the capital city, Addis Ababa.