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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

*STATUS* Looking for Funding and/or Volunteer Rancher

We are working to identify one knowledgeable individual who can and will plan details of round up.

After that, we may be seeking funding, as ranchers are reluctant. Some just don't want to be involved, but that can change with persistence.

May need to call on all members to bring our support to bear upon the efforts, which are nearly stalled.

Friday, June 19, 2009

*STATUS* Donkey Update

Met with leading local vet and respected local rancher. Best approach is a round up by paniolo on horseback with dogs who are used for herding. Depending on who we can find to do the job (no volunteers yet) it may take two attempts over a period of time. The donkeys may need to be tempted into and then held briefly in a holding station, a corral, until they can be moved. They will be fed and watered, if so.

**note: later determined that round up is not feasible, just leading to corral with food and water.)**

**note: still later learned that a corral with a trail of special bait may be all that is needed to attract donkeys to a particular area.

We've found where we can put them and where we can't. (Have not mapped it yet.)

There is ample natural food and water mauka to support these donkeys that escaped.

Have spoken with Mayor's Office, Public Works, DLNR, Fire, Police, Humane Society, the vet, several ranchers, potential volunteer groups. Have considered several alternatives.

Most feasible solution is moving donkeys (and it's best for the donkeys.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Donkey Myth: Donkeys Are Indigenous Hawaiian Animals.

Donkeys were introduced to the Island of Hawaii by immigrants to the Islands who found them useful as beasts of burden, especially for farming and ranching work.

Donkeys were introduced to the Waikoloa area starting with 30 in 1975. There is lore about who moved donkeys, when and where, but it mostly conflicts and isn't going to turn up a likely party to help correct the situation.

There are now about 250 donkeys on the 20,000 acres between Waikoloa and Kamuela because they thrive in exactly the environment they have on this slope of Mauna Kea. They have adequate food and water, from nature, and their hooves need the lava rocks for grooming.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Donkey Myth: They Need More Water

Many people think the fenced donkeys above the village are provided water. They are not. And that's okay.

There is water for donkeys all the way from here up to the Mamalahoa Highway. There are streams and oases.

Donkeys get most of their water from the grasses they eat, even the dried ones. Their digestive systems are especially good at extracting nutrition and water from what looks to us like poor feed.

More water would be good, though, as those streams and oases are pretty dried up. When water is available they will drink gallons and gallons at a time. Remember their native habitat is desert.

But providing water for them at the outskirts of your property will simply lead them to make a nice donkey path to your property and from there, your neighborhood. Let's not do that.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Why Did the Donkeys Cross the Road

To get to the other side.

I do get questions on donkey behavior (yes, including this one). I think it is safe to say that donkeys just go where their little donkey brains send them.

Browsing is a donkey characteristic: they are not always eating. (They have slow metabolisms.) They do remember where they found what they liked, and will return to it. They do follow their own trails. But they also just mosey around. Going downhill is easier than going uphill, 'eh?

Why do they just stop and stand in the middle of the road? Well a donkey spends a large part of each day standing and it has to do it somewhere. 

What a donkey does, when posed with an unknown and possible threat, is stand and assess. They can do this for a long time. They will look you head-on in the road, in your driveway, in your back yard, anywhere. They are just going to stare you down.

Let them. The choice you are asking the donkey to make is, "Do I mosey on, or do I charge and kick." The donkey will make this decision, not you.  Why press your luck?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

*STATUS* 24 – 36 donkeys outside of fence, with access to road.

There are between two and three dozen feral donkeys outside of secure fencing, located around Waikoloa Village, according to reports and guesstimates. Looking for people who can determine scope of work to move the donkeys into fenced lands. These are likely the donkeys that escaped last year when the fence gaps were discovered and subsequently repared.

These outside-the-fence donkeys do have direct access to Waikoloa Road and have been spotted both above and below the Village, outside of fencing, on or near Waikoloa Road.