The Donkey Sanctuary is delighted to announce the release of the new Donkey Care Handbook

The Donkey Sanctuary’s 45 years of experience and knowledge in caring for donkeys has been gathered together in one easy to read guide that covers every aspect of understanding the needs of donkeys and mules and how to best provide the correct care for them. 

This handbook combines all of The Donkey Sanctuary’s knowledge and experience to make a difference to the lives of donkeys all over the world even though the Sanctuary may never see or touch them. Along with in-depth specialist donkey care there are fascinating did you know facts such as; ‘There is estimated to be a world population of 44 million donkeys and 15 million mules and hinnies’.

Ben Hart, Donkey Care Training Manager says: “I am delighted to announce the release of the new Donkey Care Handbook. It’s everything you need to know for the lifelong welfare of your donkeys and mules. We wanted to produce a document that was invaluable to new and potential donkey owners so donkeys going to new homes outside the Sanctuary can be assured their new owners have the most up to date information to help provide a high quality home. We also wanted to ensure that staff, new and existing, had access to the information that forms the back bone of our principles of care here at the Sanctuary”.

It’s due to the collaboration of staff at The Donkey Sanctuary that this insightful handbook has been produced, allowing donkey carers’ worldwide access to the knowledge that has been gained from years of hands on experience.

The Donkey Care Handbook is freely accessible to anyone with an interest in donkeys. For more information or to download the handbook visit;http://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/donkey-care-handbook, there are also donkey care fact sheets available online for download from the donkey health and welfare pages of the website that contain supplement information.

Animal welfare charity to rescue lion cubs from refugee camp in Gaza

International animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS has launched an emergency mission to rescue two lion cubs living in a refugee camp in the Gaza strip, which the charity says now pose a significant threat to people in the camp.

The lion cubs, which have been named Mona and Max, made headlines earlier this year, after they were bought from Rafah Zoo in Gaza by a local man as a “treat” for his grandchildren. Photos of the two cubs – then just two months old – circulated across international media and the internet, showing the somewhat surreal situation of the lions in the middle of a refugee camp in Gaza, being petted by the small children.

The new “pets” quickly pushed the family to their financial and physical limits. Dr Amir Khalil, leader of the FOUR PAWS emergency team, has spent weeks seeking a solution for the. A combination of the strict travel and access regulations into Gaza and ongoing negotiations with the cubs’ owner, have been proving very challenging for the FOUR PAWS team.

FOUR PAWS is confident that it will soon get the go-ahead to enter the Gaza Strip. A team of vets and logistics staff will then travel to Rafah to rescue the two cubs from this hugely inappropriate situation.

Dr Khalil commented: “The big cats are now five months old, and they’re living with the family – which includes small children – under one roof! That’s why we want to get them out of there as quickly as we can, not least for the safety of the people living with them. Both cubs have already grown quite a bit bigger and stronger since their arrival to the refugee camp, and they now represent a significant danger for the inhabitants of the camp.”

Once there, the team will continue negotiations with the owner and appeal to his common sense. As soon as the lions are handed over to FOUR PAWS they will be transferred to the New Hope Center, the transit station of Al Ma’wa Wildlife Sanctuary in Jordan.

Although Gaza is small, there are around 40 big cats there. Smuggling of exotic animals is a major problem. The two lion cubs’ parents are said to have been smuggled to Rafah Zoo as cubs, via underground tunnels from Egypt into Gaza. However, military conflict last year saw the Egyptian army destroy many of the tunnels.

The continuing conflict in the Gaza Strip makes travel in and out extremely difficult. For some time now, FOUR PAWS has been seeking official permission for the rescue. This is not FOUR PAWS’ first operation in Gaza. In September 2014, the organisation carried out an emergency mission in the heavily damaged Al-Bisan Zoo in the north of the Gaza Strip, and three lions were transferred to a rescue station in Jordan. In April this year, the team returned  to carry out a relief operation to provide medical treatment and food to the animals in the run-down Khan Younis Zoo.

Khalil: “We very much hope that the current owner sees sense, and lets us take the lions. They should be given a beautiful, safe home – and not be sold on to another zoo in the area.”

#FOURPAWSgowild

Around the world, countless numbers of big cats are forced to live and suffer in circuses, badly-run zoos, or in private keeping. Many are kept in extremely cramped conditions, are incorrectly or insufficiently fed, suffer from illness, or exhibit behavioural disorders. FOUR PAWS aims to improve the situation for these beautiful and fascinating wild animals. One of the facilities run by the organisation is the unique big cat sanctuary LIONSROCK in South Africa, which now offers a species-appropriate home to over a hundred lions and tigers, rescued from poor keeping conditions. FOUR PAWS also runs far-reaching campaigns for big cats in human care, including campaigning for a ban on wild animals in circuses, and the closure of zoos with unsuitable facilities.

With its new initiative, #FOURPAWSgowild, animal welfare supporters are being asked to help raise awareness of both the suffering of big cats in captivity, and the positive solutions that can end this suffering. Under the guise of entertainment (circuses), education (zoos), medicine/tradition (healing substances made from tiger bones), and sport (trophy hunting in Africa) thousands of big cats around the world lead miserable lives in appalling conditions. The international #FOURPAWSgowild campaign gives them a voice.

The rescue of these two cubs in Gaza is just one of many activities FOUR PAWS will be carrying out this year to help big cats being kept in unsuitable or cruel conditions.

Tanzania Calls for End to Wildlife Crime with ‘Poaching Steals from Us All’ Campaign

Tanzania’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, in association with WildAid and the African Wildlife Foundation, has launched a new public awareness campaign to inform the public about the severe poaching crisis currently facing Tanzania, and to generate widespread support among civil society for the protection of elephants and other wildlife species.

The campaign will use television, radio, social media, newspapers and magazines, billboards and videos in public spaces in order to reach as many members of the public as possible, including the residents of remote rural villages.

Tanzania has lost 60% of its elephants in the past six years, mainly because of poaching for ivory. Very large profits from this illegal activity are made in China and other consumer nations, while Tanzanians are left to bear the cost.

“Elephants are at the top of the ‘wish list’ for many tourists who come to this country, and tourism generates over 17% of our gross domestic product,” said The Hon. Lazaro Nyalandu, Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism. “Our elephants are a great asset to this country in many ways, and my government is determined to stop the slaughter. But we cannot do it alone. We want to enlist the help of all of our citizens to stop the theft of our national heritage.”

At a Thursday launch event in Dar es Salaam, Nyalandu also called upon China and other nations to end their “appetite for ivory.”

Award-winning singer-songwriter Alikiba has become an ambassador for the “Poaching Steals from Us All” campaign: “I’m honoured to lend any support that I can to this effort to protect our wildlife,” Alikiba said. “Our beautiful elephants must be allowed to live — free and wild — instead of ending up as a carving on somebody’s coffee table.”

The campaign also features singer Vanessa Mdee, former NBA player Hasheem Thabeet and former Miss Tanzania Jacqueline Mengi. They join a host of international icons including Jackie Chan, Yao Ming, Edward Norton, Prince William and David Beckham, who are featured in the “Ivory Free” and “When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too” campaigns.

Religious leaders from fundamental Muslims to evangelical Christians and Anglican and Catholic bishops have also recorded messages and offered their support: “We don’t always agree on everything, but we all agree that poaching and the smuggling of ivory is completely wrong,” the leaders said in a new PSA.

A recent WildAid/AWF survey of over 2,000 Tanzanians in both rural and urban areas found that more than 79% of respondents said that it would matter a great deal to them if elephants disappeared from Tanzania. Over 73% said that they associated wildlife with their national identity and heritage.

“Poaching of elephants literally is theft from all Tanzanians and from future generations,” said Peter Knights, CEO of WildAid. “We invite all media to participate in the campaign, and we need everyone to help in the fight to stop it.”

Dr Patrick Bergin, CEO of the African Wildlife Foundation, said of the new campaign, “Tanzania has always been known for its large elephant herds and, together with Botswana and Zimbabwe, is home to half of all of Africa’s elephants. The current rate of poaching, however, threatens to erode that distinction. As Tanzanians learn more about the crisis through the campaign, we hope they will work with us to protect this tremendous asset.”