British Charity Helps Botswana's Donkeys to Glow in the Dark

British Charity Helps Botswana's Donkeys to Glow in the Dark

A donkey’s ears are tagged with reflectors in Maun, northern Botswana.


A British animal charity has launched a program to put reflective ear tags on 500 donkeys in northern Botswana, with the aim of reducing the number of road traffic accidents involving the animals at night.

Donkeys and livestock in Botswana, located in southern Africa, commonly roam free on roads in search of food and grazing. However at night drivers are often unable to see the animals on the road in time to brake. It's estimated that around 10% of road traffic accidents in Botswana are caused by collisions with domestic animals like livestock and donkeys.

The United Kingdom-based international working-animal charity the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad (SPANA) has funded partner charity the Maun Animal Welfare Society (MAWS) in Botswana to attach reflectors to donkeys' ears in four northern areas of the country.

"The people that own working donkeys are some of the very poorest in Botswana's society and often have no choice other than to let their animals roam freely in search of food in the sparse desert environment," SPANA outreach veterinary advisor Laura Higham said. "This practice is essential but obviously makes the donkeys vulnerable to accidents and we hope that this simple solution will help reduce the number of collisions caused by the animals every year."

According to Ally Lamb, chair of MAWS, "In northern Botswana there's one donkey for every two people and our welfare efforts for donkeys has been limited to humanely euthanizing those that have been injured in traffic accidents to prevent further suffering. Thanks to SPANA funding this tagging project we hope to prevent these accidents happening all together, saving not only donkeys' lives but also those of the occupants in vehicles that hit them."

The charities hope the project will be adopted in other parts of the country and will be the first step towards making reflective tags a legal requirement for freely roaming donkeys and livestock in Botswana.

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