A difference being made in Bukombe

Tanzania Humane Charity (TAHUCHA) is an International partner of Animal Aid Abroad since 2016.

TAHUCHA do an amazing job with a number of projects, namely: the new model cart construction program, a sanctuary based program, donkey medication in large and small clinics program and the donkey owners community school children uniform sponsorship in Bukombe, all funded by Animal Aid Abroad Australia.

The challenges of wounds and pain associated with oxen yoke carts wrongly used for donkeys, routine beating and overloading the donkeys is one that TAHUCHA and AAA are determined to address by attacking from all sides.

This will be done through making proper carts, training donkey riders and owners to observe load limits, medication of donkeys and providing education as a key to behavioural change.

TAHUCHA has a medical block for hospitalising badly injured and seriously sick donkeys that need close attention and the same facility is used to care for undernourished donkeys and rescued orphan foals from the abattoir after their mothers have been slaughtered for their skins and meat.

From January to April there have been 50 cases of seriously sick and badly injured donkeys admitted for a few days, 44 of those donkeys got better and were discharged under medical guidance, six donkeys were sadly lost, two confirmed rabid donkeys and four confirmed tetanus cases. Donkeys in Bukombe serve in forest areas, carrying logs for timbers so they interact with wildlife and get rabies from the bush.

Most of the donkeys come in to the sanctuary for medications for serious injuries due to overworking, beating, oxen yoke wounds, overloading and hematoma.

The health issues faced by the donkeys admitted into the sanctuary are impaction colic, tetanus, rabies, exhaustion, equine trypanasomiasis, lameness due to tendon exhaustion, tumors, hoof issues, and prolapses.

Currently there are 12 adult donkeys in the sanctuary, six will be discharged but six were rescued and will live in the sanctuary for life, together with the rescued foals from the abattoir.

The team also attend several donkeys presented that are suffering from babesiosis, trypanasomiasis, anemia, worm infestation, tetanus, fungal infection and infectious eye diseases.

Donkey owners are called to come to established treatment camps in Bukombe, and from January to April 2019, a total of 1,400 donkeys were presented are treated.

Alongside medical treatment, they also train and teach donkey owners on basic vet care like regular shaving the edge of wounds to make it visible and cleaning with soap and clean and safe water.

They teach them signs and symptoms of sick donkeys and create a peer connection for reporting earlier when abnormal signs are noted.

Providing education and training to local champions helps to build confidence among the community.

Donkeys in the Geita region serve in a range of environments including kilns, households, markets, farms, forests and mines. In all situations they are over worked, going beyond five hours, pulling heavy carts that are too large for them and which are overloaded, pulling weights well beyond their capacity, badly beaten with a yoke rubbing on their necks causing wounds that are red raw and bleeding.

The practical solution is to change the harnessing, and in January to April 2019 TAHUCHA have managed to make 20 carts which were donated to replace the old yoke style.

The existence of the donkey skin trade in Tanzania and Africa in general has several implications, like environmental pollution, animal welfare concerns around how they are slaughtered and transported and abandoned orphan foals in the grounds of the slaughter houses.

Foals are not allowed to be slaughtered by law, but their mothers are slaughtered, leaving foals behind with no food or parental care and they eventually die of hunger.

TAHUCHA are determined to care for such animals in the sanctuary; there are six foals in place and four more foals arriving at the sanctuary soon.

Thanks to TAHUCHA and AAA's supporters for helping the dire situation in Bukombe for donkeys. Together, and in time, we shall make a huge difference.

Janet Thomas