Wrought with economic and political challenges, Zimbabwe is undergoing the worst drought in over 40 years – a problem that its government is ill equipped to deal with. While this affects millions of Zimbabwean citizens, none are more overlooked than the poor domesticated donkey.
So bad is the situation that the United Nations estimates that two million people could starve to death and is raising hundreds of millions of dollars to help them. “Animals, unfortunately, are not so lucky,” says Luke Barritt, a campaigner for international animal welfare organization Network for Animals (NFA). “Donkeys are dropping dead every day and the only people helping them are charities and individual animal lovers. It’s a national tragedy for the animals and for poor Zimbabweans who rely on donkeys for transportation.
Barritt explained that because of the drought, donkeys are unable to find food on their normal grazing pastures. They depend completely on their owners for sustenance and support. With the drought, food prices are at an all-time high and many owners are unable to afford food for their donkeys.
“NFA is doing all it can to provide food for Zimbabwe’s donkeys, but the scale of the problem is daunting and the Zimbabwe government is seeming completely unable to help,” said Barritt.