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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

Donkey milk industry welfare standards under examination

A year-long investigation to determine the welfare standards of donkeys associated with the European donkey milk industry is to be discussed this week at a meeting composed of 12 animal welfare groups that operate across Europe.

The report, supported by The Donkey Sanctuary, has been produced by Dr Michela Minero with a team from the University of Milan and will be presented at a meeting hosted by the charity’s Italian operation, Il Rifugio degli Assinelli

Donkey milk farm

Eurogroup for Animals: Stop The Trucks campaign

Posted on 11 April 2016.

The Donkey Sanctuary has collaborated with Eurogroup for Animals on their recently launched campaign to address shortcomings of the current live animal transportation rules, which leave many production animals, including donkeys, unprotected, sick or dead during transport. The campaign calls on decision makers to reduce and ultimately end long distance live animal transportation.

Stop The Trucks Campaign

Another new arrival in need - Mbia

Meet Mbia, an elderly ex-trekking donkey who came to us a few months ago. No longer able to work, her owner wanted to make sure that Mbia had a caring and loving home to enjoy her retirement.

She's such a sweet natured donkey who clearly was very well treated in her life. Very curious and interested in what's going on, she likes to watch what everyone is doing and chat to the other donkeys in the next paddock.

Although a little underweight, our vet soon sorted out the dental problems and her condition improved very quickly.

We haven't been able to find out exactly why she has such a strange name, but with her kind temperament and elegant looks, she's very much like a darker version of our dear Lorraine.


Welcome to Santorini

Donkeys and mules in tourist hotspots are commonly used as taxis, carrying passengers or luggage. We’ve been working on the Greek island of Santorini since 2006 to improve welfare conditions for the 360 donkeys and mules working as tourist taxis.

We are regularly contacted by people who’ve visited the island on holiday but have left very unhappy with the health and conditions of these hard-working animals. Complaints centre on:

  • Donkeys and mules having no shade from direct sunlight;
  • No access to water
  • Carrying riders above the acceptable weight limit
  • Wounds caused by poor quality equipment.

This film shows what we’re doing to help, and how our work with the Santorini Animal Welfare Association and Animal Action gives these donkeys and mules comfort now and hope for a better future

Santorini donkeys


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