We received an upsetting message on our social media page about a donkey running loose in the busy streets of Nicosia.
For some time now, this donkey was entering the streets from the North occupied area of Cyprus, and then going back. This was occurring nearly every day in the evening.
Locals were extremely concerned as there was a risk of injury to humans and the animal itself.
We instantly contacted Animal Police, District Veterinary Service and Municipality of Nicosia to take the necessary action. Unfortunately, none of them were confident on how to catch and restrain the donkey as they did not have any previous experience, nor the necessary equipment, so they asked for our help.
There was a major issue for us stepping in; our distance from the area. We are located in Limassol district, a 90-minute drive to Nicosia, which meant that we had to collaborate with one of our partners – a farrier – who lives there and could get there quickly.
We had to coordinate all the relevant organisations. As soon as the donkey was seen coming through the border, the soldiers there would instantly notify the police, municipality inspector and our farrier.
Everyone was on alert, and after a couple of days the donkey appeared. They managed to catch and restrain it. At first, we were all worried that the donkey would be aggressive as it was believed to be feral, but that was not the case. She was very calm when she was caught, and did not try to kick or bite (we later discovered that the donkey was female). The municipality kept her temporarily in a fenced area until investigations about any possible owner had finished.
It transpired that she had no microchip, so her owner could not be identified. As we all know, donkeys can get into severe stress if they travel long distances, or even by suddenly changing environments. It was clear that we could not risk transporting her from Nicosia to Limassol, so our next effort was to find a suitable new home for her.
After a few phone calls and various people involved, we managed to find a good place for the donkey, which was not that far from where she was originally located. Our farrier had to kindly provide his own horse trailer for transport, as neither the authorities nor the new owner could provide one.
We are happy to see that she is now safe and well at her new home, with lots of good friends around – including another donkey companion! We recommended that a qualified vet should check the donkey, and administer the appropriate veterinary treatment. We also highlighted that the donkey needs to be registered and microchipped as it is a legal requirement.