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Slow down! The Donkeys are back in town!

Feature Story Island Life XpBonaire

It is that time of the year again, no rain and plants drying out which means no food for the wild animals roaming the island. Especially visible are the donkeys who usually stay away from town in the rainy season, but now come closer to town to find food and drink.

This can mean danger for both the donkeys and humans, especially at night when visibility is poor and cars might be driving too fast. The easiest ways to protect the animals, yourself and your property are listed here:

- Secure your yard and property by closing your gates and repairing fences, if needed

- Secure your trash cans

Those who are not able to secure their property or trash cans, can contact Bonaire Donkey Protection League ( 786 71 11) or Citizens for a Better Safer Animal Friendly Bonaire (+599 785-2205) for some assistance.

- Slow down when driving

- Put a bucket of water outside your property for the donkeys. Please empty it frequently to avoid mosquitos

Bonaire’s donkeys are free

Bonaire’s donkeys are world famous. These free roaming, wild donkeys can be found all over the island and are a perfect “vacation memory” for our island visitors. But island residents also have much love for the island’s historic beasts of burden, which have been part of Bonaire’s history and heritage for close to 500 years.

Many of the people of Bonaire have demonstrated their desire to keep donkeys in the wild. The citizens also see a need for, and deserve, a street safety plan that helps to keep our people safe on the roadways. Communication about and information for the public regarding the “Get Back to Nature” campaign is important. A draft plan, “Get Back to Nature”, has been submitted by Citizens for a Better Safer and Animal Friendly Bonaire along with various individuals, professionals, and Bonaire foundations. The wild donkeys are part of this protection plan. This collaborating group is of the opinion that we can develop a balance for Bonaire to benefit not only our people, our economy and our reputation, but also preserve our history, a unique cultural and natural heritage.

Bonaire’s Donkey History

In the old days, the donkeys were brought to Bonaire and left in the wild as breeding stock. They were caught as needed and used as beasts of burden to help kunuku owners. The wild donkeys found water at natural watering places and, being desert animals, they were able to survive through the dry seasons. The donkeys are an integral part of Bonaire, our eco-system, our heritage and have always been naturally free and wild. When man interfered, the problems started.

Natural water supplies were covered over and/or fenced in. Even though water basins were built at all the wells and maintained in the last years, food is still scarce. Thus, during dry seasons, many donkeys come to town where the food supply is greater. The donkeys search trash cans for food and enter yards to eat the vegetation. Most people do not blame the donkeys and take measures to secure their trash cans and close their gates, but others complain about the donkeys and see them as a nuisance. Traffic accidents, where man and/or beast have been killed or wounded, have heated up the discussion and makes it even clearer that an awareness program is needed.

Implementation of the donkey salvation plan presented by the Citizens for Better Safer Animal Friendly Bonaire calls for:

- Relocating donkeys from the roads and town to safe areas

- Speed control

- Population control

- Monitoring of all our national treasures and the free roaming donkeys

- Protecting Bonaire's heritage


Bonaire Donkey Protection League

Phone: +599 786- 7111

Citizens for a Better Safer Animal Friendly Bonaire

Phone: +599 785-2205

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