The Danakil Donkey Diaries

In 2019, our International Director of Working Animals ventured to the salt mines of Ethiopia in the Danakil Depression. This is one of the most severe environments on the planet and home to a huge percentage of the country’s working donkeys.

Ethiopia has the second largest equine population in the world and the majority suffer due to crippling injury from overworking. These donkeys spend tortuous days transporting several huge slabs of salt, each one weighing over 10kg, across hundreds of kilometres of rough terrain. Not only this, but the intense heat makes it even harder. This region records temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius, making it one of the hottest places on Earth. This constant battle against the elements and workload can lead to injury and, sadly, death.

WVS were invited by the Ethiopian Ministry of Livestock and Agriculture to help them find a sustainable solution to this problem. Together, we’re at the frontline of ensuring the health and welfare of these working animals for the long term.

Education is Key

Our team conducted a training course for 30 government vets to give them the skills needed to treat a variety of injuries. This was the first time they had received training in this area with all the vets involved incredibly excited to learn ways to improve the lives of the donkeys in their communities. We were also able to revitalise a government clinic in Berhale, so the vets can put what they have learned into practice. The clinic is on the 100km route the donkeys regularly pass through, making it the perfect location to treat animals involved in salt mining. These vets will start running regular equine clinics at the clinic very soon. We look forward to sharing news about the difference this makes to the donkeys living there in future updates!

Sign up for our newsletter

Receive our latest news, hear how your support is helping and find out ways to get involved.