• June 16, 2024
  • Last Update June 16, 2024 3:54 PM
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Donkey Population in Kenya on a Steady Decline

Donkey Population in Kenya on a Steady Decline

Kajiado,

Monday, May 20, 2024

KNA by Rop Janet

The population of donkeys in Kenya is on the decline owing to the increased bush slaughter of the animal for its meat and skin.

According to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (2019), the country’s donkey population decreased over the previous 10 years, from 1.8 million donkeys in 2009 to 1.1 million in 2019.

Inades Formation Kenya, Managing Director, Joseph Munywoki attributed the declining numbers to the illegal slaughter of donkeys in various parts of the country especially Kajiado, Nakuru, Kiambu and Naivasha purposely for their skin which is in high demand in China.

Munywoki revealed that donkey skin is used to make ‘Eijao’ a Chinese traditional medicine believed to have health-enhancing and youthful-preserving properties among the elderly.

The high price for donkey hides used in the making of the gelatin medicine has led to rampant donkey theft and sparked fears the animals could eventually become extinct.

“The population of donkeys is on the decline in Kenya in the past years as a result of an increase in illegal bush slaughter of the donkeys for its skin which is used in making ‘Eijao’ Chinese traditional medicine,” Said Munywoki.

He added that apart from decimating the donkey population, the bush slaughter posed a health hazard as uninspected meat passed off as beef finds its way to the local butcheries and sold to unsuspecting Kenyans.

Speaking at Erankau village, Kajiado County during celebrations to mark the National Donkey Day, the Director said there was need to strengthen policies and legislation to protect donkeys from exploitation while enhancing their health and welfare.

During the event, over 300 donkeys underwent free check-ups, dewormed and given nutritional supplements.

The donkey owners were sensitized on how to take care of the animals for economic productivity. Dr. Vincent Oloo, Animal Welfare Officer at Brooke East Africa, urged donkey owners and users to take good care of their donkeys by ensuring that they are well fed, treated and not over worked.

Dr. Oloo said the donkey is a very important animal especially in arid and semi-arid areas where it is used to transport water.

“Donkeys play a vital role especially in rural areas where it is used to transport water. It has made work easier for women who used to carry the water on their backs thus the need to take proper care of the animals,” he said.

Agnes Mosile, a donkey owner, reiterated the important role donkeys play adding that women use donkeys to ease them from the burden of labor in their farms and homes.

The National Donkey day is celebrated on the 17th of May every year with the aim of recognizing the contributions donkeys make to the national and rural economies in Kenya.

The annual celebration underscores the importance of recognizing donkeys as valuable animals deserving of care, given their indispensable role in enhancing livelihoods.

Courtesy; KNA

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