Equus africanus asinus Linnaeus, 1758 ♀
Common names: Donkey, Ass [En], Âne commun [Fr], Ezel [Nl], Hausesel [De], Asino [It], Burro, Asno [Es], Γάιδαρος [Gr], Eşek [Tu]
Dipkarpaz (Ριζοκάρπασο), İSKELE (Τρίκωμο) ● Cyprus
Description: All the donkeys found on Cyprus island are the children the African wild ass. These creatures can be recognised from their grey coat and black mane. 4000 B.C is the date when it is believed that donkeys were first domesticated.
History: Donkeys were hugely important in human life as a means of transportation; they can carry more weight than a horse. When cars were a luxury item for the rich, the donkeys were used to ferry the heavy load of freshly picked olives and cereals over to the mills. Every family in this area had at least a donkey or two. With tractors and other automobiles becoming more easily available to the Cypriot people, this eventually came to a stop.
During the panic and rush of the war in 1974, most donkeys were left to look after themselves after their owners fled for safety. These donkeys were later collected and left at the tip of the Karpas peninsula.
Protection in Cyprus: Although it was thought of being the best place were the donkeys would have the highest rate of survival, the farmers of Karpas were not too happy with this situation as they would escape from their fences and eat the surrounding crops painstakingly cared for by the farmers.
The high donkey densities (6.7 donkeys/km2) on the Karpas peninsula suggest a need for concern relative to their impact on native vegetation and wildlife. This population is not uniformly distributed, and the population density within the fenced area far exceeds densities in areas where donkeys were anecdotally known to be damaging vegetation. Investigation about the effects of feral donkeys on habitat and other species of wildlife need to be undertaken. The association KAYAD recommends exclosure (fencing out small areas of habitat to exclude donkeys) experiments to assess vegetation where donkeys may graze and where they are excluded. If feral donkeys in the Karpas Peninsula are having adverse ecological impacts, then there may be adequate justification for controlling these populations and to continue monitoring populations and habitat.
Kyrenia North Cyprus
Hamrick R.G., Pirgalioglu T., Gunduz S., Caroll J.P., 2005. Feral donkey
Equus asinus population on the Karpaz peninsula, Cyprus, Eur J Wildl Res 51:108-116.
Karpaz area, Local development strategy, 2011