- The number of donkeys has reduced from 800,000 to 400,000 in Turkana, according to a report by the Association of Donkey Owners in Kenya (Adok).
- The drop is attributed to the opening of several slaughterhouses targeting the animals and the failure to address the breeding.
The donkey population in Turkana has dropped from 800,000 to 400,000, this is according to a report by the Association of Donkey Owners in Kenya (Adok).
The report shows that Turkana county accounts for 30 per cent of the country’s donkey population and the number has been declining since 2016.
In 2016, the country had 1.8 million donkeys, but this has since reduced to a million.
The report has attributed the drop to the opening of several slaughterhouses targeting the animals and the failure to address the breeding.
Adok decried the rise in the illegal slaughter of donkeys allegedly orchestrated by bandits and cartels who supply skins to the abattoir.
A team of stakeholders including the Turkana County Government, Brooke, Adok, and the Agency for Cross Border Development (APaD) have joined hands to promote the conservation of donkeys in Turkana.
Adok Turkana Chapter chairman Albert Epeyo said despite the government directive to abolish illegal donkey business there are still some individuals trading in donkey’s skin.
“The government imposed an order for closure of slaughterhouses in Lodwar but the abattoir still operates secretly buying donkey skins through the help of bandits and cartels for export,” he said.
Irenaeus Nakadio from Turkana County Directorate of veterinary services said they have the mandate to ensure the donkey issues are addressed.
He said the decrease in donkey numbers is due to the illegal slaughtering of the animals over their skin, which is in high demand.
Cleophas Lokuta, project officer of donkey welfare resilience at APaD said they will continue to fight for the protection of donkeys because they are important animals to the pastoralists.
“In collaboration with Turkana county government and Brooke we have carried out several treatments of donkeys, provide water services to donkey owners and donkeys and train the community to start embracing fodder production to help the animals,” he said.
According to Africa Network for Animal Welfare, the illegal slaughter of donkeys will wipe them out since they are poor breeders with high abortion rates.
The donkeys have a gestation period of 12-14 months calving at an interval of one foal in three to four years, unlike the cow that gives birth every one year.
The study by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation in 2019 showed that the annual mean rate (5.1 per cent) of donkeys slaughtered was five times higher than the annual donkey population growth rate (1.04 per cent).