Written by Ellen Pascale of the Humane Society of the United States
Only a short time ago, the HSUS was joining forces with local groups and veterinarians to airlift 120 feral donkeys from Hawaii to a sanctuary in California. When we are called in by local law enforcement to rescue animals in crisis, we’re frequently joined by other animal groups that help care for these pets at our emergency shelters. We typically coordinate with our Emergency Placement Partners to take in animals from these rescues and find them loving homes. In Hawaii we worked in that fashion. We teamed up with island groups, vets and a local cattle rancher to help hundreds of donkeys at risk of starvation or being gunned down. They came from a group that was brought to the big island to work on coffee plantations, but when they weren’t needed anymore, some were set loose. This led to the establishment of a wild herd that eventually grew to have 400-600 animals. They were wandering into neighborhoods and roadways, so when a local rancher reached out to a local vet, who contacted our state director, we wanted to help, and there started the Waikoloa Donkey Rescue and Rehoming project.
Since 2010 we’ve been humanely capturing and neutering many of the animals, and many have been adopted out locally. Nearly 120 of them were recently airlifted to Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue in Tehachapi CA, from HI. The video below shows the journey these donkeys had flying to sanctuary, thanks to the collaborative efforts of many animal welfare groups such as Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, along with generous support from the Eagle Eye Sanctuary Foundation in CA.
The donkeys are settling in well at Peaceful Valley Donkey Sanctuary, and 6 will eventually travel to our Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Texas, which was originally a rescue site for burros airlifted from the Grand Canyon in 1979!
If you’d like to help, learn more here about adopting, volunteering or providing sanctuary for the other donkeys in Hawaii.
Photo from TheFlyingGerbil via flickr