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Donkey owners in Narok decry rampant donkey theft

Donkey owners in Narok County have raised concern over a recent wave of donkey theft that is giving them sleepless night.

The donkey keepers said tens of donkeys have disappeared from the area in the recent past without a trace, wondering where their precious animals could be going.

Led by Association of Donkey Owners of Kenya (ADOK), Narok Branch Chairperson Ms. Margaret Mpatiany said over 50 donkeys have been reported missing in a span of two months in the county.

 “We are wondering where our animals are going. They are mostly stolen in the night and attempts to follow them have been in vain,” said Ms. Mpatiany.

She described the beast of burden as the ‘women’s vehicles’ that help to transport their goods to the market, especially during the rains seasons when the roads are impassable.

“Because of the donkey, we as Maasai women do not bother the government to reduce the cost of fuel, we have ready transport with us. But with the new trend of stealing our donkeys, we are afraid we may start looking for help from the government,” he said.

She reiterated the importance of a donkey in helping improve the livelihood of the less fortunate people in society as they can go long distances to fetch essential commodities like water and firewood.

The chairlady recalled that when the slaughterhouses in Mogotio- Baringo County and Naivasha were closed, the theft of donkeys stopped, raising concern that the new trend could have been fueled by the re-opening of the donkey slaughterhouses.

Association of Donkey Owners of Kenya (ADOK), Narok Branch Chairperson Ms. Margaret Mpatiany speaking to KNA on donkey theft at Naikarra area.

Another donkey farmer from Nkaretta area in Narok Central Sub County Ms. Josephine Nasieku lamented that her two donkeys were stolen in the wee hours of the night last month and attempts to locate them were futile.

She said her donkey has helped to educate her children to tertiary level and expand her grain business as she easily transports her luggage to the marketplace.

“You cannot separate a donkey from us women. It is our main source of income. We call it our co-wife because it helps us do the work that another woman can do,” she said.

Mzee Francis Ole Kool from the Olaimutia area said his five donkeys were stolen in the night hours in his homestead two months ago and efforts to trace them were in vain.

Ole Kool wondered why the donkey thieves do not take away other livestock like sheep, goats or cows but only steal donkeys.

“If donkeys get finished in the area, we are doomed. This is because the animal helps us transport goods for long distances at no cost. For example, to get clean water in this area during dry seasons, one has to trek for about 15 kilometers. This is only possible with the help of a donkey,” he said.

According to John Wainaina of Farming System Kenya, a donkey’s gestation period is 12 months and takes over two years before conceiving, unlike other livestock that take a shorter period.

By Ann Salaton

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