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2016 was a great year for donkeys and mules here in Cyprus, and we would like to share this information with you and celebrate together all the great work that happened in 2016.

Please take a look at the figures on this article's picture, and help us to continue our work in 2017, by visiting our ''Adopt'', ''Donate'', ''Join Us'' and Gift ''Shop'' sections on our website.

Your generosity means a lot to us, so thank you for all your kind and valuable support.

2016 in figures


The Donkey Sanctuary's continual aim is to aid more and more donkeys worldwide and the charity currently works in 34 countries. As some of you know, our sister charities in Spain and Italy do an incredible job of helping hundreds of donkeys, so many of whom that are in desperate need.

Although travelling to other countries would be impractical for us here, The Donkey Sanctuary (Cyprus) assists elsewhere in Europe. This year we have responded to more than 550 welfare concerns, enquiries and advice requests from 24 European countries. Whilst we've been able to deal with the majority of these, wherever possible we liaise with other equine welfare organisations in Europe.

Thanks to their invaluable help, by working together we've been able to assist so many donkeys and educate both owners and non-owners alike.

We've also developed good contacts with individual people who have been keen to help us. One such person is Jana who lives in Croatia. After rescuing a young stallion from an awful situation, Jana contacted us for advice as she had never even touched a donkey before!

With our advice and her hard work and determination, Jana now has a wonderful relationship with not one, but two lovely donkeys - Pano and Lily-Rose. She also helps to keep a check on some other donkeys nearby that are not always well cared for by their owner. Thanks to her help and collaboration we know that there is someone looking out for them.

Helping Donkeys in Europe


A concern we frequently receive is about donkeys that are tethered in fields without any shelter or water. It's very difficult for many owners to put up a shelter as they move their donkeys a lot and the ground is often rocky.

However, one of our Outreach owner's used his imagination and came up with a very unique mobile shelter for his young donkey. Using an old truck, he attached an extended roof and installed a water tank in the back to supply an automatic water trough.

When he needs to move his donkey to a different area to graze, he simply drives the truck to the new site!

His donkey has a constant supply of clean water, shade if he wants it and even the neck tether that is used is comfortable for him as it fits well and is covered in soft strong plastic tubing to prevent rubbing. The donkey is on a long tether so can get plenty of exercise and, although the owner's designs may seem strange, the result in one very happy little donkey!

Mobile shelter


Having so many very elderly, ex-working donkeys here, it’s a sad fact of life that we have to say goodbye them. Many have spent their former lives living in relatively harsh conditions, receiving a diet that beggars belief and never having seen a vet, they are, like many of their owners, quite a tough bunch.

In July we had to say goodbye to one of the toughest, most determined old donkeys we’ve known. Shilionas came to us in 2008 as he could no longer work due to failing eyesight.

He soon settled in with us, benefiting from daily medication, and we quickly learnt what a feisty old chap he could be!

Over the years his eyesight deteriorated until he became completely blind. When we moved the donkeys from Vouni we were concerned how he would cope in new surroundings but we needn’t have worried. Using his whiskers to find his way around, he quickly knew where everything was and was given his own padded stable at night to keep him safe.

Despite reaching his 30s and having a few age related problems, giving him a soft food diet and daily medication, he was always in good condition with a shiny coat. He loved standing out in the rain so we got him a waterproof rug for the winter to keep him clean and dry which he loved.

He would always come over to you when called and wait patiently outside the barn at tea time, calling loudly if you took too long to bring him in! During the autumn we noticed he wasn’t quite his normal self and blood tests revealed he had some kidney issues. Despite medications and our best efforts, we knew the time had come to say goodbye. He was one of our all-time favourites and this tough old character will always have a large place in our hearts



Meet Clairi and Dori, two elderly ex-working donkeys who were in desperate need of our help. Both donkeys had severe dental problems, arthritis and were in very poor condition. Clairi also had a skin problem was not well at all.

They were both struggling to keep weight on due to their health problems but, after receiving medical treatment and a controlled diet, they are now beginning to improve.

In their late twenties and despite lives of hard work, they are extremely kind natured donkeys and seem to understand that we are helping them. Even within a few days they were much happier and looked forward to having some welcome attention.

With the special care they are receiving they will soon be able to join one of our groups and have a well-earned rest which they both deserve.



It can be heart breaking to see an animal so terrified of human contact that it will put its own life at risk to get away from humans. This was the case with a young stallion called Yiannis. Although only five years old, he had only ever been given water and enough poor quality food to survive. Living in a small corral with loose wire, sharp nails and metal stakes poking out everywhere, he'd never experienced any form of kindness.

As a result, not only was he incredibly frightened of humans, but his behaviour scared the people that went near him. When we met Yiannis he tried to push his way through the 'fencing' and was in grave danger of seriously injuring himself, or worse, and we knew we had to act.

Fortunately we were able to bring him to safety and slowly but gently work on his confidence. After several months he began to become calmer and inquisitive, his overall health improved and his trust in humans was developing.

We've now been able to castrate him and, although still a little wary, there is still work to do to further gain his trust. We found his 'scratch spot' just behind his left ear, and so whenever he does something good he gets a reward from a good scratch!

Perhaps the old saying 'softly, softly catchy monkey' should be changed to donkey?!

Patience and perseverence


There are many welfare organisations on the island that do incredible work alleviating the suffering of so many animals. In October, Mary Anastasi of Cyprus Voice for Animals, organised an award ceremony at the Presidential Palace, Nicosia, in recognition of their services to animal welfare.

The Donkey Sanctuary (Cyprus) is the only organisation solely dedicated to the welfare of donkeys and mules here and so we were thrilled when we were invited to attend.

We were also honoured to be presented with an award for our work by the wife of the President of Cyprus, Mrs Andri Anastasiades. The First Lady is shown giving the plaque to The Donkey Sanctuary (Cyprus) Country Manager and European Welfare Manager, Judy Welsman.

Our congratulations go to all the other organisations who were also recognised and to Cyprus Voice for Animals organising a wonderful evening.

Recognition of our work


Every year we treat more and more donkeys on island and this year was no exception with 274 to visit! Many of them were receiving their first vet and farrier treatments and we were extremely pleased that their owners were keen to learn about how to take care of their donkeys.

We also met a lot of very young foals that were born this year; one born only three days before we arrived. Several of the owners had already contacted us asking for advice of feeding the mare and taking good care of mother and baby. They were very grateful that we could go and check the foals, give further advice and show them how to get the foal used to being handled.

Unfortunately there continue to be donkeys living in terrible conditions without the basic care they require. Plastic, general rubbish, dangerous string, wire and metal, filthy water (if there is any), rotting vegetables and other inappropriate food are sights we still come across.

The majority of owners will take notice of our requests and advice, particularly if they see us picking up some of the rubbish in front of them. However, some do not and over the winter we will be collating evidence of the type of situations we come across to present to the authorities.

As most of you know, we do not have any legal jurisdiction and cannot force people to take better care of their animals. Without support from the authorities the lives of these donkeys will continue to be unacceptable. The Animal Welfare Act is quite clear about causing suffering and we will push to get the Law upheld. It's a painfully slow process but with your support, not only would we be able to try our hardest to do this but also continue to visit and treat more donkeys and improve their lives.

Reaching more donkeys in Cyprus

Kikas’ New Role

From January 2017 Kikas takes over the role as an Adoption Donkey from our dear Lonnie and we know you’d like to hear a bit about him. Vital statistics first of course!

Name: Kikas (pronounced Kee-kas)
Born: January 2015
Sex: Gelding (castrated male)
Colour: Very dark brown
Height: Still growing!
From: Larnaca District
Arrived: 21st July 2015
Best Friend: Castoris
Hobbies: Playing with Castoris, galloping fast, food, being groomed, throwing his feed bowl around, getting cuddles, rolling and getting dirty!

The reason Kikas came to us is a slightly unusual story; the farrier we use had trimmed the hooves of Kikas’ owner’s donkeys but the owner wasn’t able to pay the farrier. As Kikas was an unwanted baby, and recently weaned from his mum, the owner offered him in lieu of payment and so the farrier collected him and took him home. Partly due to our expanding Outreach Programme, the farrier’s workload was getting heavier and heavier, and he soon realised he wasn’t able to spend the time needed to take care of the little donkey.

And so Kikas came to us and we named him after our farrier! Being so young he had thick, fluffy almost orange coloured hair and although he was rather confused to begin with, we soon discovered what an adorable and friendly little chap he was.

While he was in our New Arrivals Unit, we began to handle him every day, gradually getting him used to being caught, brushed and having his hooves picked up. This was all very new to him but he was a quick learner and his mischievous, fun personality began to emerge.

As he was so tiny and young, he was too small to live with the older donkeys and so we thought we could put him with Castoris in a separate paddock and see how they got on. Dear Castoris really didn’t like living with lots of other donkeys and was very nervous of them but, as he was only five years old, quiet natured and very good to handle, we thought he would be the ideal companion and could teach young Kikas some donkey etiquette.

When we put them together in the paddock for the first time, Kikas wanted to play but Castoris wasn’t impressed at all! For more than a week Castoris did his best to ignore Kikas and would put his ears back if the little chap kept annoying him. However, after a while, Kikas began to learn the rules of being a donkey and Castoris realised he had someone he could boss around. This increased Castoris’ confidence and it wasn’t long before they became best friends.

Kikas is growing into a handsome donkey and, after losing his baby fluff, his coat has changed to being almost black. He’s also proved that he can gallop incredibly fast as he and Castoris spend a lot of time in the early morning and late evening going as fast as possible racing up and down the paddock. They love playing tug of war with an old rugby ball, a stick or what’s left of an old sandal. Watching them is so entertaining and we’ve tried numerous times to capture their antics on video but as soon as they see you with a camera they stop! We’re sure they will be BFFs (Best Friends Forever) so we’re going to keep trying.

If you’d like to Adopt Kikas, just click on the Adopt button in Adoptions section and you’ll be helping to ensure that he, and all our other donkeys, get the best care they deserve.



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