AAA partner group, Tikobane Trust working for change in Zimbabwe

There is nothing so joyful and fulfilling as to see a once sick and skinny donkey gaining weight and their wounds healing. The Tikobane Trust team work hard to make this happen for as many animals as they can. Of course, the best solution is prevention of any abuse or mistreatment happening in the first place, and the team is also working towards this.

Though the change is not immediate, Tikobane Trust have noticed some positive change in the general perception of donkey treatment in Magoli, Mambanje, Dete and surrounding areas. People are now calling the team to inform them about sick or wounded donkeys, even if they are not the owners. This is a positive step in improving the welfare of donkeys and other working animals in the area.

During the month of July, Tikobane Trust conducted weekly clinics in Siyalwindi, Magoli and Makwandara, visiting 17 home stands and a total of 79 donkeys, including those who were brought in by their owners and those who were met on carts.

Appallingly, they came across a poor donkey in Dete that had been axed six times in the back because it ate someone’s vegetables after the firewood traders left their donkeys unattended. Worse still is that the donkey was still being put to work, even while suffering this pain.

In Magoli village the team visited a home where one donkey was attacked by a lion. The wound was not healing properly because the poor animal was put to work before he had been able to recover and for the wounds to heal. They treated the wounds and advised the owners to rest the donkey until it has fully recovered.

During their door to door clinics it was realised that a lot of donkeys had beating wounds all over their bodies. These were the donkeys used mostly by firewood traders. The team set about educating the firewood traders on proper donkey welfare and treated the wounds on the injured donkeys.

Improper harnessing is one of the major problems seen with donkeys in the area, particularly with donkeys used by firewood traders.

It is Tikobane Trust's hope that improper harnessing will be soon a thing of the past, as they are working hard on designing and manufacturing proper, donkey friendly harnesses that are cushioned and will protect donkeys from wounds such as these.

Many more owners are bringing their donkeys to the Tikobane Trust office for treatment and this, along with people reporting sick or wounded donkeys and other working animals is now common. This shows a positive shift in attitude and that people are improving the care they are taking of their donkeys, thanks to the community education efforts of the Tikobane Trust.

The team has realised with great concern that most animals they treat take a long time to recover because they are put to work when they have not fully healed. They are working hard to establish a sanctuary where they can take donkeys and other working animals in to give them a safe and nurturing space to fully recover. They have managed to buy 250kg of wire that they want to use to fence the proposed sanctuary, and also to help fund it through the sell of art wire crafts. AAA also aims to assist with fundraising for this much needed sanctuary.

Janet Thomas