World Donkey Day (May 8)

Donkey is very useful, important and precious animal genetic resource for food and agriculture. Donkey plays pivotal role in the livelihood earning of the million people of the world. Donkey is widely use for pastoral movement, carting, agricultural operations and recreation purposes. There is wide intra and in breed diversity. Such diversity is based on habitat, purpose, selection etc. Donkey is well adapted to all climatic conditions and ecosystem. It ranges from cold temperate region, cold deserts, dry and hot deserts, plain lands, high Alps and coastal ecosystems of the globe.

In some countries, the products, especially milk and meat of donkey is also use. Milk is use as medicine among the pastoral communities for the treatment of respiratory diseases since long time. The meat products are use in many countries of the world and Salami is the famous dish of donkey meat.

Donkey is now introduced in many EU countries as ecosystem service to help in the flora biodiversity in the forest. One of the best example is in Germany, where black berry increased manifolds as a weed in the forests of pines and retarted the germination of the new pine plants. Donkey was introduced in the forest to control black berry and the results are now very visible in such places. Such services of donkey can be the option hope for its conservation in Western Europe and other countries of the world. In Germany, grazing with livestock is the most commonly used strategy for maintaining the landscape and for conserving rare plants, as well as certain bird species on the Red List. Federal and state governments, as well as local municipalities, pay livestock keepers for these services, usually by the number of animal grazing days. Depending on the type of habitat to be maintained, different species, including donkeys, cattle, and sheep are used most frequently. 

The auto-mobile revolution and other social changes affected the historical importance of donkey. The scientists and communities are looking for different and various options to keep donkey as a hope. There are many success stories in this regard, the landscape management is one of the important one. Also, in Balochistan province of Pakistan, Shingharri donkey is used for mining industry of the chromite. The donkey is well praised for its power, obedience and good learning attitude by the mining industry.

Unfortunatel, donkey never enjoyed due importance among the policy makers of the national governments and international organizations. In some countries talking about donkey issues is a sort of taboo. The western educated vets. even sometimes hesitate to talk about donkey and do not work on donkey issues.

Donkey welfare is the challenge of the modern era. Among the carters of donkey, beating, punishment, poor feeding and hard conditions are very common. I hereby appreciate the efforts of Brooke international for halting cruelty on donkeys. The author being the head of the SAVES, introduced world donkey day to stimulate awareness on the donkey issues and to help in halting cruelty. I appeal to the world people to arrange activities on this day and create awareness in this regard.

Donkey! Shingharri Breed

Habitat: The production area of this breed is Khurasan, Suleiman mountainous region, Marri and Bugti hills. The nucleuses of the breed are Kakkal of Kibzai tribe, Meerkhani of Buzdar tribe, salatha and Hazargat of Maghdozai tribe, Zamari, Shighala of Mardanzai tribe, Sharan of Babakarkhail tribe, Kohai of Issot, Goshani area Baloch tribe and Masuri tribe of Bugti area. The nomads are the main traders and users of the breed.

Phenotypic characteristics: There are many colors in Shinghari breed of donkey, but the dominant and selective color is white. The breed is of larger size and well adapted for the ecology of the area. Famous drought animal use equally by the city draught carters, nomads and pastoral people locally. Now a day’s very famous and widely use by chromites mines diggers. Carry a weight of load on back up to 240 kg in plain areas and 160 kg in mountainous areas.  Age at first mating is 2-4 years depending upon the feed availability and type of work.

Vegetation: Consume all types of grasses and bushes. Even consume woody vegetation of trees. Eat bark and wood in the time of feed scarcity.

Population: Population is about 1.2 million and the trend is increasing in breeding herds and decreasing sporadic use by ordinary people and carters in cities. The use is decreased in cities because of China’s made Rickshaw for work. This decreased use is replaced by mining industry.

Special traits:

v  Very hardy and consume very fibrous feeding materials

v  No leech infestation because drink water with closed jaws

v  Highly resistant to diseases

v  Very fit to work in mountainous ecology

v  Can walk long, making it fit for nomadic system

Economic importance: The Shinghari donkey is very famous drought animal use equally by the city donkey carters, nomads and pastoral people locally. The demand is increasing in the mining industry, especially chromites mining. The main marketing place is Mangrota camel fair. The price of a vigorous healthy male may reach to 50,000 Rupees per head.