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AU-IBAR: High demand for donkey skin is driving the donkey into extinction

Posted by JUDITH DORA AKOLO on 01 December 2022 2:00 PM CAT

AU-IBAR: High demand for donkey skin is driving the donkey into extinction

By Judith Akolo

The African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) Director Dr. Nick Nwankpa is warning that the rising demand for donkey skin on the global market could drive the beast of burden into extinction.

Speaking at the 2022 Pan African Donkey conference that began today in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with the theme, “Donkeys now in Africa and to the Future” Dr. Nwankpa said that the donkey supports livelihoods and generate income for mostly the low income households on the continent, “despite this valid services, the donkey is viewed as a poor man’s resource,” said Dr. Nwankpa.

The AU-IBAR Director raised concern that the donkey is neglected in the livestock conservation and development policies in most African countries, he called for an urgent need to include donkeys in animal resources and food security frameworks, “particularly as their numbers are increasingly threatened by the global donkey skin trade,” he warned.

Dr. Nwankpa notes that AU-IBAR as the unique specialized technical agency of the African Union Commission (AUC) is charged with coordinating the development and the utilization of animal resources for the wellbeing of African citizens “has come together with Brooke and other partners,  to convene  this conference to arouse Africa to the threats facing the donkey population on the continent,” he said and added, “It is an opportunity for all of us to arrive at a common position on the exploitation of the donkey in the continent.

Adding that the decision from the 2022 Pan African Donkey Conference will guide the policies and strategies to preserve the donkey as a critical resource for the African Community.

He lauded the involvement of various stakeholders and the strategic partnership in advancing animal welfare agenda and the commitments to improve the livelihoods of the African Community “that has led to the development and endorsement of the Animal Welfare Strategy for Africa by AUC Head States and Summit in February 2018 and the establishment and the operationalization of the Africa Platform for Animal Welfare (APAW) whose secretariat is hosted at AU-IBAR,” said Dr. Nwankpa.

The Regional Director, Brooke East Africa Dr. Raphael Kinoti while noting that there are 47 million donkeys in the world said that the donkey is an important animal to especially the lower rungs of the population in Africa with some societies having a saying that, “a woman without a donkey becomes the donkey herself,”

The Brooke Ethiopia Programme Manager Dr. Yohannes Kassim warned that the donkey population in Africa is under threat due to the high demand for Ejiao or gelatine developed from donkey hide, that used as an ingredient in the traditional medicine of China, “it is estimated that the Ejiao industry currently requires approximately 4.8 million donkey skins annually which could wipe out the African total donkey population of 48 million is appropriate measures are not taken by all stakeholders,” said Kassim.


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