Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Hi-glo donkeys to stop accidents

Donkeys in Botswana will be fitted with reflective ear tags to reduce the number of traffic accidents in the country

Donkeys in Botswana are to be fitted with reflective ear tags to help stop accidents involving the animals at night.

About 500 animals in northern Botswana will initially be fitted with the tags to help drivers see them on rural roads.

At the moment about 10% of road accidents in the country are caused by livestock and donkeys which commonly roam free on roads in search of food and grazing. At night, drivers are often unable to see the animals on the road in time to brake.

The Society For The Protection Of Animals Abroad (SPANA), based in the UK, has now funded the Maun Animal Welfare Society (MAWS), in Botswana, to attach reflectors to donkeys' ears in four northern areas of the country.

Laura Higham, outreach veterinary advisor for SPANA, said: "The people that own working donkeys are some of the very poorest in Botswana's society and often have no choice other than to let their animals roam freely in search of food in the sparse desert environment.

"This practice is essential, but obviously makes the donkeys vulnerable to accidents and we hope that this simple solution will help reduce the number of collisions caused by the animals every year."

The charities hope the project will be adopted in other parts of the country, and will be the first step towards making reflective tags a legal requirement for freely roaming donkeys and livestock in Botswana.

MAWS chairwoman Ally Lamb said: "In northern Botswana there's one donkey for every two people and our welfare efforts for donkeys has been limited to humanely euthanising those that have been injured in traffic accidents to gprevent further suffering.

"Thanks to SPANA funding this tagging project we hope to prevent these accidents happening all together, saving not only donkeys' lives but also those of the occupants in vehicles that hit them."

https://spana.org/(Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad)

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