Pietermaritzburg - More dead donkeys thought to have been skinned alive have been found near the Lesotho border in Twin Springs, following the 18 that were found last Thursday.The number of donkeys that were thought to have been skinned alive, allegedly for the Chinese medicinal market, has risen from 18 to 35. National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) farm unit inspector Nazareth Appalsamy said several more donkeys had been found in “close proximity” to the 18 found on Thursday, in different areas.Weekend Witness reported that it was suspected that 100 donkeys were found in a kraal on a plot of land eight kilometres from the border between KZN and Lesotho in the Twin Springs area. Just outside the kraal lay 18 dead donkeys that are suspected to have been skinned alive.Two people were arrested and charged with animal cruelty in connection with the skinnings last Thursday, however, when police and the SPCA went back to the plot of land on Friday, the live donkeys had disappeared.Appalsamy said it is thought that the people responsible for moving the donkeys had crossed over into Lesotho. He said the search for the missing donkeys would continue.He said the search for the donkeys would cover 47 000 hectares of land. The NSPCA has released multiple statements on donkeys being skinned alive in the Northern Cape, the Free State and Gauteng. The NSPCA said that, according to the China Daily Mail, the donkey skins have medicinal properties. Berg Protection Service’s Debby Caine said in Saturday’s Weekend Witness article that 100 more donkeys arrived on the same land on Friday. She said the donkeys were brought by truck, with the driver allegedly stating he had come from Nkandla. KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said the two people arrested in connection with the dead donkeys were found slaughtering them near the Lesotho border. Appalsamy said the two arrested, a man and a woman, were denied bail at the Himeville Magistrate’s Court yesterday and would be appearing in court again on February 6.KZN Department of Agriculture and Rural Development spokesperson Khaye Nkwanyana said the department applauded the apprehension of the man and woman found skinning the donkeys.He said the department stood for the protection of animals and condemned the actions of the two accused.Nkwanyana said the department would be following up with police today on the matter to ensure that justice is served and urged the public to report such matters to the police.