The Donkey Sanctuary has rescued three donkeys that had been abandoned in Romania and left to fend for themselves through the bitter winter.
The trio, including a mare who may be pregnant, were found on a strip of wasteland in the city of Constanta on the Black Sea coast.
They were spotted several times running beside a major road before local people herded them onto the grassy area to save them from the traffic.
Local authorities searched extensively for the owner but after none would come forward The Donkey Sanctuary, which has a holding base in Cernavoda, 60km away, was contacted. It has now given sanctuary to the two males aged 1.5 years-old and 2.5-years-old and the mare aged 10.
Vet, Roxana Topor, said the rescued donkeys had sweet natures so could be working donkeys abandoned due to the cost of feeding them over the winter.
She said: “Unfortunately there is a big problem with abandonments in Romania. In the winter period donkey owners just release their donkeys to eat whatever they can find and hope to find them again in the spring. It usually gets really bad during the years when there’s no rain and the price of food reaches the ceiling.”
She added: “Although we’re getting really full now we’ll never turn away from a donkey in need. We’re working really hard with our outreach program to try and help donkey owners with education, advice and veterinary help to try and reduce the abandonments.”
The Donkey Sanctuary’s Cernavoda centre is home to 63 donkeys and also operates a mobile clinic to support working donkeys in the region.
To find out more about the work of The Donkey Sanctuary and the Romania project please visit http://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/project/romania