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Our office responds to hundreds of concerns and enquiries from all over Europe, and this number tends to increase during the tourists season. Long hooves, lack of water, food or shelter, and injuries are the most frequent concerns and we always appreciate people taking the time to contact us. Obviously, long hooves need dealing with and often we can arrange for this to be done. Providing shelter and 24-hour water can often be very difficult areas to deal with.

In many Mediterranean countries, its common practice for owners to take water to their donkey very early in the morning and late at night. There are several reasons for this; buckets can be knocked over easily, filled with dust and insects and we've seen donkeys refuse to drink warm water.

Shelters can be difficult to erect on very rocky ground, and many donkeys are moved around from place to place for grazing. However, we do try to persuade owners to tether the donkey near to bushes or trees for some relief from the sun.

If you do see a donkey you are concerned about, we will always do our best to resolve the situation wherever possible, although we do need your help too.
Apart from knowing the exact location of the donkey, photographs/videos are so useful. Not only can they help us make an initial evaluation of the situation, but also provide vital evidence if we need to contact other organisations we frequently work with.

We do of course understand that it can sometimes be distressing to take photos or videos of difficult situations, or even inappropriate.

The more information we receive, the better and you can contact us with the information either by email or through our Donkeys in Distress Checklist.

If it's a real emergency for donkeys in Cyprus, please call us on +357 99892713.

A big thank you to all of you who have helped us help donkeys in need.

Donkeys in distress


You may have read in previous newsletters that The Donkey Sanctuary Cyprus receive enquires, advice requests and welfare concerns from all over Europe, as well as those in Cyprus. Whenever possible, we collaborate with other organisations in other countries to try to get help to donkeys in need.

Recently we were able to assist a donkey on Naxos Island, Greece. Bouboulina, an elderly donkey, had been rescued by Naxos Animal Welfare Society as she had extremely badly neglected hooves and was in very poor condition.

One of NAWS members, who we know, has good equine experience and took Bouboulina to her home to begin the long road to recover. Having no farrier on the island, a very experienced one came over from Crete to deal with the hooves. Medical advice and support was provided by ourselves and the Greek Animal Welfare Fund, whom we work closely with.

Bouboulina improved dramatically although due to her age, she did require daily medications to treat her arthritis. Over time, the situation changed for the lady caring for the donkey, as well as Bouboulina requiring regular hoof trims. The question was, how do we help?

As you can see in the photograph, Bouboulina's hooves and body condition were now in a very good shape and she was fit to travel. After a lot of phone calls and emails, health and travel documents were arranged, and transport was organised to take her to a small Holding Base on mainland Greece. She travelled really well and is now settled in her new home. This was truly a team effort by everyone involved and the result is one very contented donkey!.

Team work-Greece


By the time you read this, we'll be taking a well-earned break from the first half of our Community Programme. As usual, the temperatures in July and August make it incredibly hard work for two of the team - our vet and particularly our farrier. Rasping teeth and spending most of the day bent over trimming very hard donkey hooves is not easy.

We've completed both the Nicosia and Paphos districts with Larnaca, Famagusta and Limassol to do later in the year. Having treated 274 donkeys last year, there's every possibility we will be doing more this time, especially as more owners contact us each year.

It's not all about just trimming hooves and checking teeth though; giving advice about feeding, health care, donkeys' environment and even passport information are some of the parts of the work we do, and this is why the Outreach has been renamed to Community Programme.

It's been an encouraging start too as this year we've seen several big improvements to the welfare of donkeys that we've visited before. More owners are using head collars or safer tethers, feeding their donkeys correctly and providing shelter. It might not sound a lot, but even tidying the area the donkey lives in and removing string, metal and plastic rubbish is progress. As we say over here - sega, sega - slowly slowly!

A huge thank you goes to those of you who have already provided us with items for our donkey first aid box and head collars. It's such a big help and very much appreciated.

If you wish to support our Community Programme, please visit our Adopt, Donate and Gift Shop sections on our website.

Community Programme


Meet Sam, a stunningly beautiful 8 year old gelding, who came to us as a stallion with some behavioural issues and a reputation for escaping. A few years ago, a very kind man rescued him from a life of awful abuse. It took more than two years for him to gain some of Sam's confidence but, being a young stallion, the owner knew Sam needed more help to improve.

Also, the little donkey became an expert at rolling under the electric fencing and, living close to a main road, there was a real danger of him being involved in an accident.

The owner was very concerned about Sam's future and asked if we could take him, which we did in May. He's since been castrated and has begun to settle into the new environment. As with Yiannis, the young donkey we rescued last year, it will take time and patience to build his confidence further, but he's a very sweet natured donkey and we know he will get there.



Moses was previously captured on film opening the truck door which we shared with you recently. Well, this time he’s been caught closing the back door as well as opening it! The best bit was as he had his head in the back of the truck, one of his carers told him ‘Moses, get out of there’ and he promptly did and shut the door afterwards!!

You can watch him up to his antics in this video..



It was only last December that we retired Lonnie from our Adoption Scheme due to his advancing years and so it came as a terrible shock to us when he suddenly died less than an hour after calling our vet. The only indication we had that something wasn’t right was that he didn’t want his breakfast that morning. Nothing else seemed amiss but knowing that a donkey that won’t eat is an ill donkey, we rang the vet straightaway.

Unfortunately Lonnie’s problem was too serious. The inquisitive, loving donkey who could easily make us laugh and loved getting attention, was gone after spending 18 happy years with us. We miss you old boy..



It’s inevitable, having so many very elderly donkeys in our care that we have to say goodbye to those that have reached the end of their lives. While each and every one is special to us, we wanted to pay tribute to two of our beloved residents that many of you would have known.

Last year in our Spring E-newsletter we celebrated Ginny’s reign as the last founder member of the former charity, Friends of the Cyprus Donkey. Since arriving in 1994 Ginny became such a character, well renowned for opening gates and galloping off. Throughout her life her zest for life and making mischief never waned and hearing her name being shouted in exasperation by the grooms was a common occurrence!

Despite her size and the antics she would get up to, she was a wonderful donkey and so when she developed a severe hoof problem early this year, she was patient while being treated every day.

Sadly, the problem became progressively worse and as we could no longer alleviate her discomfort, the heart rending decision was made to quietly put her to sleep. Ginny will always be remembered as one of a kind and is very much missed.



Shibilli’s reputation was not a good one in any of the villages in the area he lived! We knew him from our Outreach and had first-hand experience of how difficult he could be. Despite being a health 20 year old working donkey, when the owner couldn’t look after him anymore, not one person wanted him! The owner contacted us and it was with a little trepidation that we set off to collect him just before Christmas.

The journey was rather nerve wracking before we arrived as we took a wrong turning and ended up driving along a very icy road in the mountains. However, we got there safely and knew we wouldn’t go back the same way!

It just goes to show how things often don’t go as expected as when Shibilli was led out from his stable he walked straight onto the trailer, ears pricked and, if the expression on his face was anything to go by, eager to go on an adventure. It was only later that we remembered that the owner used to transport the donkey in the back of a Transit van and had taught Shibilli to jump in the back! Phew!

The owner wished us luck and we got ready to set off down the mountain but – our truck wouldn’t start! After a lot of fiddling with leads and cables and a jump start from the owner (even though it wasn’t the battery), we headed off home. Bless him Shibilli behaved impeccably throughout and when we got him off the trailer he was very relaxed. In fact, so much so that after having a sniff of the ground he dropped to the floor and had a good roll, had a look around, got up then had another roll!

Since he arrived, he’s far better behaved than he used to be although we do have to stay on our toes! He’s living in the group where Moses, Hercules and Chloe reside and they’ve done a great job on explain to him what the protocol is – in donkey language of course! Shibilli really is a bit of a character with a unique personality – we think he’s just been misunderstood?



The Donkey Sanctuary's partnership with Eurogroup for Animals launched an important project to ensure the EU’s 6 million horses and 1.5 million donkeys are covered by species specific legislation. In 2015 the recommendations were published in a ground breaking report titled "Removing the Blinkers". Recently we were delighted to hear from Eurogroup for Animals that MEP Julie Girling's report on Equine welfare has been adopted by the European Parliament.

Here in Cyprus, although we now receive less donkey welfare complaints, mainly due to our Outreach work and owners contacting us for advice, we still see a high number of donkeys kept in dangerous, totally unsuitable conditions without the basic necessities available such as water, shelter and general care. Although legislation is in place to prevent animals suffering and being negelected, it is extremely rare that it is ever enforced.

Through our Outreach Programme we visit more and more donkeys each year and in the vast majority of situations where advice and support is required, the owners willingly make improvements. Most often, lack of knowledge is all that needs to be addressed but there are always a few who don’t. As we have no legal jurisdiction, this is when we need the Government and Police to act. We provide the necessary factual evidence in these rare cases but till find it incredibly difficult to get any action taken.

Following Julie Girling’s report, we will be collating evidence of donkeys living in awful conditions and send them to the Government to push for more effective action.

If you see any donkeys or mules you are concerned about, please contact us and take photos. Not only do they help us determine if an investigation is needed, but if a severe situation, we have evidence from the beginning. You can also complete our Donkey’s in Distress Checklist online on our website and upload any photographs. Please help us help the donkeys.

Pushing for animal welfare improvements

Donate your birthday to donkeys!

Everyone likes to celebrate their birthday whether it’s by being with family and friends, receiving great gifts or going out for a nice meal. Are there times though when you’d like to do something a little bit different?

This time, why not ask your friends and family if, instead of giving a gift directly to you, they donate towards our donkeys’ care!

Simply let them know that you are donating your birthday to Donkey Sanctuary (Cyprus), and ask them to make any donation at this link

This will help towards our donkeys getting their medicines, buy their feed, provide anti-parasite treatment, trim their hooves, fund our Outreach Programme, and much more!

Let’s make world a better place for donkeys!

©Photo kindly provided by Natasa Leoni for the Donkey Sanctuary (Cyprus)


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