Donkey reflectors! Vets' bright bid to stop Zimbabwe's donkey road carnage

2017-01-18 09:10
Picture: VAWZ

Picture: VAWZ

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Beitbridge - It's a grim sight along roads leading to the Beitbridge border post in Zimbabwe: donkeys, killed or maimed by drivers travelling at night.

So a group of vets in Zimbabwe has come up with a simple, inexpensive solution: donkey reflectors.

Collars made of reflective yellow tape should help drivers avoid donkeys who've wandered onto unfenced roads in the dark.

Mel Hood of Veterinarians for Animal Welfare Zimbabwe (VAWZ) said she estimates that there are at least 10 accidents involving donkeys within Beitbridge per month - and "probably way higher than that" on roads leading into the town.

"One of the biggest problems is injured donkeys often left suffering on the side of the road for days," she told News24.

"Owners don't want to claim them for fear of having to pay a fine for having livestock on the road," she added.

VAWZ is testing out the collars on 40 donkeys: 20 from the town, 20 from a rural community living on the road just beyond the busy border post. The group has asked drivers and donkey owners for feedback.

"We need to see if the collars affect the donkeys in any way before we do more," says Hood. "Will they rub on their skin or get caught on objects? [We need to see] how they 'wear and tear'." 

"The owners have been very positive and greatly appreciate any efforts made to protect their donkeys as well as helping to avoid accidents that could cause injuries or loss of human life," she added.

Fatal donkey/driver accidents tend to occur on the highways leading into Beitbridge, involving buses, lorries and drivers travelling at night.

Anecdotal evidence suggests night driving in Zimbabwe has increased in recent months as locals try to avoid the many police roadblocks. 

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  animals

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