A team of stakeholders including Association of Donkey Owners in Kenya (ADOK) and Agency for Cross Border Pastoralist Development (APaD) have joined hands to promote conservation of donkeys in Turkana County.
They have resorted to using public sensitization and education to stop illegal donkey business which has led to drastic drop in the donkey population.
Speaking during the stakeholders’ meeting in Lodwar, the chairman of the Association of Donkey Owners in Kenya (ADOK) Albert Epeyo said they had agreed to sensitize the public to enable them understand the importance of donkeys in Turkana community and adopt better ways to take care of the animal.
“As Turkana County, we don’t want illegal slaughtering and trading of donkeys. It has contributed to theft and conflict both internally and across the borders since the emergence of donkey skin and meat market trade in the region,” said Epeyo.
He noted that since the closure of a Chinese owned donkey abattoir in Lodwar following government’s directive to abolish illegal business of donkeys in the country, there were still other individuals who traded in donkeys’ skin. This has led to the reduction in the population of the animals.
On her part, the former Kerio ward Councilor Margaret Nabuin proposed the shutdown of local donkey butcheries as she urged the residents to stop selling donkeys which were a source of food and transport to the community.
“You will lack a means to transport your belongings when migrating in the time of drought. You will be forced to abandon the elderly, the expectant women, if you choose to sell all your donkeys. Let us sell goats, cows and camels to preserve donkeys,” said Nabuin.
Nabuin further called upon the local administration to impose adequate regulations through issuance of permits to allow an individual to sell his donkeys, a move she said would help bring to an end the illegal business.
Echom Simon a resident of Turkana County said the donkey is a highly valued animal in the Turkana community because of its numerous benefits including source of transport, food, payment of dowry among others.
“We urge the people of Turkana to stop the illegal donkey business. We are worried that it will reach a time when these animals will be finished in this county. It is good to conserve and value this animal, to promote its growth if not, it will be a great loss to the community,” said Echom.
Echom added that besides being source of transport and dowry payment, the community has for ages treasured the donkey with a belief that its meat has additional medicinal value when consumed.
By Ekuwam Sylvester