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Monday, March 3, 2014

March and Where are the Donkeys

Here is my previous post on Where Did the Donkeys Go?

But no doubt there are still a few enjoying your water features (ponds, birdbaths, pools) and tasty shrubbery and grass. Hopefully only a few. Hopefully not exposed to small children who might want to "pet the donkey".  Report your sightings per usual.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Equine 808! Oahu Nightingales.

2011 was a good year. Here is something I didn't report on fully at the time:

With help from Dr. Brady Bergin and CB horse Rescue, Equine 808 on Oahu has begun trying to find homes for some of our "spare" donkeys. Equine 808's website. links to a good video by KITV, that I haven't linked to before.

Mahalo Equine 808 and the people who got those little donkeys to Oahu. They didn't just swim there, you know.

I need to follow up and see what success they have had. My to-do list gets longer.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Two "Donkey Incidents" on Monthly Police Blotter

In February, Hawaii County Police Department reported two calls where officers investigated donkey sightings near both the upper highway in the (old) Saddle Road vicinity and Waikoloa Road. Due to HPD's cycling officers around the Island, I didn't get a clear report  if they were inside or outside of fencing. I think now most of us know to call only when they are outside fencing.

Gunner Mench, new Chair, South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee, being congratulated by HPD Police Captain Aimee Wana
So, stay alert, know the drill. Especially at dawn and dusk. Drive the speed limit. Expect an invisible donkey. Call 911 if it's on the road. Best if you can park and stay till an officer can arrive to keep track of whee the donkey is. Know that's a lot to ask. Get the MILE MARKER for the police and for me, please, and let me know at

A few reports of them in the Village continue to come to me, but none have been called to police. Not much they can do in such a case. Let me know, so I can keep the rescue team in the loop.

If there are more reports, we'll have to search for fence breaks. Any hikers out there willing to help this time? It's more fun than it sounds. (And we learned to do it going DOWN hill.) My orthopedist said, "Desperado, why don't you come to your senses? You've been out walkin' fences for too long." But I'm still handy with keeping track of what's inspected and trying to find the right property owner to repair it. I bring treats, too.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Year and No Posts - But Still Got Donkeys?

Wow, a full year has gone by since there was significant news to report. About all that has happened in the interim is a slow and steady capture program for neutering males and adopting them out. You can imagine that after adopting out about 600 donkeys, the current demand is pretty low! So, that is the news.

Every month the police reports no donkey incidents for over a year now!

Yup, there are still donkeys. Do report your sightings to me if they are outside fenced areas. And if they are on the road, call 911.
Three donkeys who are at the CB Horse Rescue awaiting a loving home!
Bird McIver does an wonderful job gentling them. 
If they are munching on your garden and pooping on your yard, check that you haven't installed a water feature or gotten a break in your fence. Or build a fence (really, the only answer.) Fence plans must be approved by the WVA.

I enjoy hearing from you all now and again.

When there is some uptick in news on organizing something like a sanctuary where we can neuter males and administer birth control to females, to maintain the same population during it's natural lifetime, I will post it here!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mahalo Letter From Keith Dane, HSUS, Summarizes Everything

Thank you, Waikoloans and Friends of Nightingales, your support sustains me.  Anika

Dear Waikoloa Donkey Project supporter,

I wanted to provide you with an update on the great news from Hawaii – and California – about the success of our donkey rescue and rehoming project thus far.  To date, nearly 400 donkeys have been removed from harm, spared from the threat of starvation or lethal eradication – with over half placed in loving homes in Hawaii, and 119 transported to California, where Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue will care for them while they await adoption or transfer to permanent sanctuary, at Eagle Eye Sanctuary in Northern CA and HSUS’s Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in TX.

This transport, the largest phase of our project in terms of planning and resources involved, was many months in the making.  The goal was to continue to rapidly reduce the numbers of donkeys in the wild in Waikoloa, and since the rate at which we were finding new adoptive homes in Hawaii was slowing, it was determined that the best way to quickly rehome a large number of donkeys was to find a rescue/sanctuary that could help.  Throughout the project, our team had been consulting with Mark Meyers, head of Peaceful Valley, as he has been involved with many donkey rescue and rehoming projects.  When asked, Mark agreed without hesitation to help us place as many donkeys on the mainland as we could send him.

So a large project to gather, transfer, treat, castrate and ship a plane full of donkeys to California was undertaken.  The first step – passively gathering wild donkeys – proved to be the largest and most critical one.  While trapping of the animals had been successful in previous months – due to the ongoing drought (which limited their access to forage and water, and enabled us to entice them with food and drink) – our first attempt (in February) to gather a large number in anticipation of a planned castration clinic was foiled by the weather.  The winter rains came, which quickly began to again provide ample sustenance to the donkeys in the wild.  Plans for the clinic were put on hold.

Undeterred, our team on the ground (comprised of rancher Stan Boteilho, adoption/placement expert extraordinaire Bird McIver/CB Horse Rescue, Dr. Brady Bergin and his staff) continued to monitor the situation, setting and checking traps when there was the slightest dry spell, and gathering, castrating, treating and rehoming the occasional group of hungry and curious donkeys – with the financial assistance of the HSUS and its generous supporters.  Brady worked to find a secure holding area where the donkeys (for which homes in Hawaii could not be found) could be accumulated until enough were gathered to justify the vet clinic and subsequent airlift.  He also negotiated with Pacific Airlift to provide air freight to California in the cargo hold of an entire specially-equipped 747 - at a very favorable rate.

As the summer months approached and things again began to dry up, the team could envision that by mid August, enough donkeys could be gathered to make a clinic and airlift worthwhile.  Plans were again set in motion to prepare for the clinic, which involved the coordination of many local volunteers, and a team of equine vets and techs from Steinbeck Veterinary Clinic in Salinas, California, organized by the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.   Among those on hand to help with the clinic was Hawaii State Senator Clayton Hee (a horseman now living on Oahu, who grew up in ranching on the Big Island).

In less than two days, on August 27th and 28th, 165 donkeys in total were processed, including 98 castrated jacks and 67 jennies.  They were treated for parasites, checked for health concerns, and those bound for CA were microchipped and had blood drawn for Coggins tests (a requirement for entry into the state).  The clinic went extremely smoothly, with a well-prepared team in place including over two dozen local volunteers and the vet/tech team from CA, which was happy to have had the opportunity to help with the project.

Following a couple weeks’ rest/recovery period, a total of 119 donkeys (77 jacks and 42 jennies) were transported to CA last weekend, on September 16th.  A massive caravan of trucks and trailers carted them safely to Kona International Airport (where they were loaded by groups of 6 into large animal crates for boarding onto the aircraft) and were met -  following an uneventful flight - at LAX by a similar caravan orchestrated by Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue.  The entire group is settling into their new surroundings, where they’ll await adoption to good forever homes, or transfer to sanctuary.

The remainder of those treated during the clinic which stayed behind in Hawaii will be rehomed locally on the Big Island or neighbor islands (an Oahu rescue recently took 6).  We continue to seek funding or a donation of land for the establishment of a permanent local sanctuary for the estimated 200+ donkeys remaining in the wild, but that support has not as yet been forthcoming.  Alternative plans are to gradually continue to gather and treat those which are trapped by the rancher and rehome them locally, as adoptive homes can be found.

The following links provide further updates on this story, including HSUS president & CEO Wayne Pacelle’s blog from yesterday:

a story on the HSUS website, currently featured on our home page (which should include a great video in the near future):

and several news stories from press in California, Hawaii and elsewhere:

KHON2 - ‎Sep 17, 2011‎
Hawaii News Now - Teri Okita - ‎Sep 16, 2011‎

This project could not have been possible without the cooperation and support of local groups and individuals on the Big Island (our Hawaii state director Inga Gibson, Stan Boteilho, Anika Glass and Malama Waikoloa Nightingales, Bird McIver of CB Horse Rescue, and many other volunteers and community supporters), the heroic efforts of Dr. Brady Bergin and support of his spouse Tiffany, and the generosity of HSUS donors.  Many thanks for your ongoing support for this life-saving project.



Keith Dane
Director, Equine Protection
t 301-258-3076     f 301-258-3078
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street NW    Washington, DC 20037
The Humane Society of the United States - Celebrating Animals | Confronting Cruelty

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Meeting Planning for Our Donkey's Future

Photo courtesy Gideon of
Last week, we had three distinguished visitors from the United States Humane Society. They asked us to call together key volunteers and community leaders and we did. They led a meeting where we discussed goals, objectives and next steps for the donkeys remaining in Waikoloa. I will write a full report after I have sent out the thank you emails! And after I get some minutes or notes from someone, as I am not the one to do that. (whew!)

I can report that there seem to be fewer than 100 donkeys left in the Waikoloa Area and that fewer than 10 are hanging out around town. We are beginning to trap and move those to another locations. However, we have donkeys "stored" in a few places that are full up, awaiting adoptors. So we really need focus on how we will maintain a stable population of donkeys now that the herd size is down. It will involve castration of makes and possibly the PZP immunization that can prevent pregnancy in females up to two years. I have nothing firm to report on that.

But one day I will. So stay tuned, we are going to ABSOLUTELY need your support for efforts to actually SAVE our donkeys now that are reaching a manageable number.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Donkey on Mamalahoa Highway Safely Returned to Herd!

On December 22, the donkey magic menehune made more magic by getting this dear donkey back where he belonged. Donkeys are lonely without their friends, this is true. So you made him happy. Thanks to all those who periodically reminded me to follow up and to the menehune who siezed an opportunity when it presented itself. This community can come together fast when it needs to.