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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.



Tatiana and Dimitris are friends of ours who we’ve liaised for several years and have several gorgeous donkeys. They run a small charity near Athens that provides Donkey Assisted Therapy and education to children – both those with additional needs and school groups. They have also rehomed two donkeys from our Holding Base in Greece.

Although they don’t rescue donkeys themselves, in February they took in two very neglected, unhandled donkeys - Mandalena, who was pregnant, and her son Gerasimos. Both donkeys very weak, frightened and full of worms. After a thorough veterinary check, deworming and being given a special diet, the donkeys’ health began to improve and Tatiana started to train them so they would become confident and happy donkeys.

Mandalena gave birth to a healthy foal in April and as she, her son and the foal were now healthy, they later joined one of the groups of Tatiana’s donkeys. As Tatiana and Dimitris had enough of their own donkeys to care for, they managed to find a super local home for the three they had rescued. Eva, their new owner spent several months visiting and learning how to care for them and continue their training and has Tatiana, Dimitris and available for any help or advice.

It’s wonderful to hear such happy news from them and to be able to collaborate with such a great couple.

Greece 1


We’re now into our Autumn Outreach Programme and it seems as though we’ll be doing even more donkeys than ever before. So far this year we’re pleased that the number of extremely obese donkeys and those with horrendously long hooves has been a lot lower than previously. However, we still come across animals with these long hooves resulting in permanently internal foot damage and laminitis (a painful foot condition). One recent case is shown here; We were able to improve the shape of the hooves and make the donkey more comfortable on this occasion.

On a brighter note, although there are always difficult situations to deal with, it’s rewarding to discover that slowly, many people’s attitudes towards donkey welfare are gradually changing for the better. Many new owners are now part of our programme and are taking on-board the advice and support we are able to give them. We have seen the highest number of lovely little foals this year -so many owners of the mothers of these foals have rung us after the birth to ask what they need to feed the mare, how to take care and handle the foal, when the foal can be weaned and much more. This is a big step in the right direction and illustrates how important our work is.

Outreach 1


In July we took in two very elderly characters called Anastasia, a dark grey mare and Kokoulla, who is a chocolate brown mare. Kokoulla's health was deteriorating and although their owner done everything she could and loved them dearly, but was no longer able to provide the care that knew was needed.

When we were contacted we went to have a look with our vet and as well as rasping the donkeys’ teeth, we took a blood sample from Kokoulla. Both donkeys were getting plenty of good food so we needed to find out what the problem was. While Anastasia was perfectly well behaved and very obliging, Kokoulla decided she really did not want to be touched or have a needle near her! We eventually persuaded her that we were there for her best interests and later, the blood tests showed she had quite a few age related health issues and needed some intensive treatment.

Arrangements were made to collect both donkeys and rather surprisingly Kokoulla went straight on the trailer while Anastasia decided the trailer was a big scary monster. Sometime later, and after lots of tears from their owner, both were safely on-board and travelled back to our New Arrivals Unit. We gave them time to settle in before starting the medications needed and both the girls were soon chomping on their soft food.

They are very closely bonded and never far apart. The medications have done the trick although Kokoulla will need long term treatments. Her legs have healed nicely and she has put on a lot of weight. They really are complete opposites in their characters – Anastasia is quiet and easy going whereas Kokoulla is a bossy-boots who likes her own way and doesn’t like to be asked to do anything she doesn’t want to do. Their owner regularly keeps in contact with us and is really happy to see that the girls are now looking so well as you can see.



Mainly due to our Outreach Programme helping to keep donkeys with their owners, most of the donkeys that are relinquished to us are very elderly and invariably have some health issues. This is certainly true of dear old Johnny, a semi-retired working donkey, who at around 35 years old had lost a lot of weight since we saw him last year.

Despite his owner’s best efforts, he asked if we could take Johnny in as he realised he was in need of intensive, long term specialist care which the owner was unable to provide. Being so thin, as you can see from the photo, we really hoped there were no hidden problems other than his teeth.

After a full check-up we found that Johnny had several health problems as well as some dental issues. Receiving the medications he needed, we also slowly started giving him some soaked pony nuts and soft chopped straw and within two weeks he had put on some weight. He’s such a lovely old boy, very happy and really loves his food and lots of cuddles and will soon join our Additional Needs Group. If you’re wondering why he hasn’t got a Cypriot name, Johnny is the English version of Yiannis and there are far too many Yiannis around here!!

Johnny 1


We’ve at long last produced a Donkey Sanctuary Cyprus calendar! Thanks to some help from a visitor, and two professional photographers who took some fabulous photos free of charge, we’ve compiled an A4 2017 calendar of our own lovely donkeys!

They can be bought from our online Gift Shop for only €7 plus postage. Go to the Gift Shop on our website to order your copy now! The ideal gift for yourself, family & friends!

Or contact us at .

Alternatively, if you’re in our area, pop in to our office!

2017 Calendar

Increased outreach programme reduces complaints

It’s nearly that time of year again when we start planning our Outreach Programme. Visits start in May and as the number of donkeys we check and treat increases every year, we’re expecting to help more than 220 donkeys in over 70 villages by the end of October.

Looking back at our records, in 2009 we treated 70 Outreach animals but also received a lot of calls from tourists and locals, concerned about the welfare of donkeys they had seen. In 2015 we helped over 220 animals – an increase of 214% compared to 2009!

Through our annual visits, more and more owners will now call us and ask for advice such as feeding, farrier visits and veterinary care. Consequently we now receive very few welfare concern calls and we’re positive this is due to the success of our Outreach Programme.

By the end of the year we’ll have travelled almost 5000km and spent long days working in the heat but it is so rewarding to see such positive results and improvements. A huge thank you goes to our supporters as without your help we would not be able to continue this vital work.

Outreach programme

Farewell dear Demos

Early this year we were deeply saddened to say goodbye to little Demos. He was 29 years old and came to us in 2011 as his elderly owner had severe health problems and could no longer look after him.

Demos was a tiny little donkey but had the courage of a lion which at the beginning could make him quite difficult to handle. His feisty nature helped him gain the respect of the other donkeys – some almost twice his size – and although he became well behaved for the grooms, he never lost his bossy nature.

Demos had been well looked after by his owner and while he was with us, he never had any health problems until his final days.

We all miss this wonderful little donkey with the big personality.


Boys and their toys

In September last year we collected a 7 month old donkey called Kikas. Being a young stallion we couldn’t put him in with the other donkeys and so improvements were made to the paddock at the Holding Base owner’s house. The idea being that he could live with a 6 year old gelding we had called Castoris. Dear Castoris had already been with us for almost a year but absolutely refused to live with the other donkeys so we thought giving him a youngster to share a home with might help him..

After a week of sulking and being pestered continuously by Kikas, Castoris accepted having this lively, mischievous young chap with him and they began to play together. Their favourite toy was a deflated football which they would play ‘tug-of-war’ with usually early in the morning and late afternoon. We then gave them an old croc sandal and a child’s rugby ball (which was soon deflated) and both donkeys chose their favourite one on a daily basis.

We then enlarged the paddock for them along the side of the Holding Base owner’s house, as by February, Kikas was as tall as Castoris and extremely energetic.

No doubt you’ll think this was a great idea just like we did? Well, both the boys have now decided that as they have room to gallop at full speed, it’s great to pick up one of their toys and go thundering past the house again and again at midnight every night! Time out gentlemen please!

Kikas and Castoris


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