I’ve blogged previously about donkeys in Ireland but, as donkeys are so adorable and today is world wildlife Wednesday, let me introduce you to some of the donkeys I met in Peru.
Though originally native to Africa, the donkey (Equus africanus asinus) was introduced to the Americas when the ships of Christopher Columbus’s second expedition arrived at the Caribbean Island of Hispaniola in 1495. The monks and priests who quickly spread the Catholic religion throughout South America were also responsible for the spread of the donkey, specialising in the profitable business of breeding and selling donkeys and mules.
Today in rural Peru, as in most under-developed countries around the globe, donkeys (as well as llamas) are still the principal beasts of burden. They can often be seen carrying loads for farmers, pulling carts or simply grazing in fields. Their burdens look heavy but donkeys are sturdy and strong and, as they represent a substantial monetary investment and their labour is vital to subsistence farmers, donkeys are usually very well cared for.