Sidmouth-based charity supporting animals on Caribbean island after Hurricane Irma

PUBLISHED: 17:06 03 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:06 03 October 2017

Feral donkeys have strayed onto the runway at Codrington Airport in Barbuda after its perimeter fence was destroyed by Hurricane Irma

Feral donkeys have strayed onto the runway at Codrington Airport in Barbuda after its perimeter fence was destroyed by Hurricane Irma

Archant

An emergency team from The Donkey Sanctuary arrived on a Caribbean island yesterday (Monday) to prevent the animals from hindering the relief efforts after Hurricane Irma.

The four-strong crew will assess the welfare of the feral donkeys and come up with solutions to stop them straying onto the airport runway after its perimeter fencing was damaged.

It will also work with other organisations that are providing animal welfare care on other impacted islands, including Dominica.

Simon Pope, rapid response and campaigns manager at The Donkey Sanctuary, said: “The feral donkey population has gravitated towards the airport after Barbuda was evacuated – attracted by the grassy open spaces next to the runway.

“The donkeys, from what we have seen, are in good condition, but in order for the airport to return to full working order, we need to look at the short-term and long-term fencing solutions.

“We are meeting with airport officials today and will continue to help other animal charities on the ground in Barbuda to reconnect pet owners with their animals that had to be left behind.

“We have already seen for ourselves just how much some dogs were in despair from a lack of human company.”

The Donkey Sanctuary was invited to Barbuda by the Antigua and Barbuda Human Society, and also joins World Animal Protection and Animals for Barbuda, who have been helping provide immediate assistance to help abandoned animals on the island, as well as providing specific expertise on donkey welfare.

The Donkey Sanctuary team will assess the situation in Barbuda fully, and provide emergency help to any donkeys that are hungry, thirsty or injured. They are currently making contact with organisations involved in providing animal welfare care on other impacted islands, including Dominica.

Barbuda is a small island in the eastern Caribbean that forms part of the sovereign Commonwealth nation of Antigua and Barbuda. The population of about 1,600 evacuated due to Hurricane Irma.

To follow the team in Barbuda or donate to help The Donkey Sanctuary support donkeys at times of crisis, visit www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/barbuda-emergency-visit.

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