The Donkey Sanctuary in Antigua
21 April 2016
We set out at 10:30 am for first a short dingy ride to the Catamaran Club in Flamouth Harbour to tie up the dingy to then hike/ walk to the Donkey Sanctuary. John and Joanne from sailing vessel,Out of Africa and Devin and Liz from Moosetracks plus Sheila of Neverbored were off on a new adventure. It was a lovely walk,seeing new parts of Antigua that I have not seen before. It took maybe an hour and a half to walk there with our water breaks and a snack/ rest period. The Antigua & Barbuda Humane Society, located on the eastern side of the island near Bethesda, offers a permanent home for donkeys at risk. The Donkey Sanctuary currently shelters more than 150 donkeys but this number is by no means finite. Although all stallions are castrated on arrival, more often than not the mares are already in foal when they arrive. As the gestation period is almost a year, there are frequently sweet surprises in store.
We were guided around and told the stories of some of the Donkey's who are all named and have a story. We got to meet Bonnie who twin is called Clyde. Bonnie's month old foal was called Nell named after Nell Barrow who is the author of The True story of Bonnie and Clyde.The Donkey Sanctuary welcomes visitors and is favourite stop for children and adults alike. It offers families a wonderful alternative to another day on the beach, plus it's a great walk/ hike from Falmouth.
In addition to the foals, a favourite of visitors to the Donkey Sanctuary is Stevie, called Stevie Wonder most of the time, an adult donkey who was struck by a vehicle and is now totally blind. Because of the special care and attention that is given to Stevie he is able to manage quite well and loves the extra attention he receives from everyone.The Humane Society plans to gradually bring all stray and roaming donkeys into the Donkey Sanctuary in order to keep them safe. The Government of Antigua & Barbuda has promised to allocate additional lands to make this possible. The Humane Society will have to find the funds for the fencing materials but the Government has promised to assist with fencing labour. Donations are welcome.
In addition to providing limited grazing and carrying water to them, the Humane Society also gives the sanctuary donkeys purchased feed every day, which is a significant drain on resources. In the past, the Society has received occasional grants for fencing projects and shelter construction but feeding the donkeys is primarily the Humane Society’s responsibility. When paddocks become overgrazed, the Society cuts and carries grass and bush, and begs stale bread from the local bakeries. The dry season, January to August, is particularly difficult.
To help raise funds for the care of the donkeys, the Humane Society sells T-Shirts at the sanctuary and offers an ‘Adopt an Antiguan Donkey’ programme. At the time we visited the fee for adoption was 25 US or 65 EC. Visitors are welcome to help brush the donkeys, and take as many photos as they like.
The Donkey Sanctuary is open to visitors Monday through Saturday, including most public holidays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Restrooms and cold drinks are available. Call us at (268) 461-4957.