Staff and volunteers at The Flicka Foundation welcomed a new arrival this week, when a rare breed of donkey made the journey to the Penryn-based donkey sanctuary.
Humphrey the Baudet de Poitou donkey arrived on Thursday and is settling into his new home well. The 9-month-old comes to Cornwall from Hamerton Stud, a special breeding-programme for the conservation of the rare Baudet de Poitou breed. A number of animals have been imported into the UK from France to form a breeding herd. The stud wanted the young donkey to stay in the country to highlight his magnificent breed, so The Flicka Foundation stepped in to offer him a place at their sanctuary.
The Baudet de Poitou is the oldest breed of donkey in the world, but today they are rare. They were first recorded in 54BC when the Romans discovered them in Poitiers, France. The Poitou donkey was in great demand from the middle ages onward, when they were bred with mulassier horses to produce mules – large numbers of which were used by the French army in the Congo and North Africa. By the 1950’s however, the mules had been replaced by mechanised vehicles and thousands of them were culled, leaving the breed on the verge of extinction. By 1977 it was found that only around 40 Poitous had survived, so a rescue plan was established in France and a breeding programme was started in an attempt to save the breed. Numbers have risen slowly, but today there are still only a few hundred Poitou donkeys in France and a handful of other countries.
Flicka Director Judy Giles said: “We are delighted to share the exciting news of Humphrey’s long-awaited arrival and thrilled to bits that we have been asked to be his guardians.” She went on to say: “It is an honour to welcome this young Poitou into our sanctuary family and we are sure he will fit in with the other donkeys beautifully, whilst being a wonderful ambassador for his special breed”.
Regular visitors to The Flicka Foundation will be familiar with the sanctuary’s existing Baudet de Poitou; a much-loved character affectionately known as “Big Bertie”, who is popular choice for the charity’s Adopt-a-Donkey scheme. Not only is new arrival Humphrey the same breed as Bertie, but he also happens to be Bertie’s little brother, so staff say a family reunion of sorts is definitely on the cards!
As well as Humphrey and Bertie the Poitou donkeys, the charity currently cares for over 70 donkeys and 25 horses at its sanctuary, many of which have been rescued from conditions of abuse and neglect. You can find out more about the work of The Flicka Foundation or how you can adopt a donkey by visiting their webpage: www.flickafoundation.org.uk
Notes to Editors:
About The Flicka Foundation
The Flicka Foundation Donkey Sanctuary (Charity reg. No. 1153858) was founded by Mary Berryman in 1995, following the rescue of an elderly pony named Mickey. Mary loved all animals with a passion and could not bear animal suffering. Now celebrating its 21st anniversary, the charity has rescued and rehabilitated well over 600 animals since its inception. Members of the public are welcome to visit the horses and donkeys all year round.
Telephone: 01326 373601
Opening Times: 11.00-16.00 daily (closed Mondays and Fridays, open weekends only during winter months)
For more information or pictures, please contact:
Judy Giles (Director, Trustee)
Tel; 01326 373601