Outback donkeys guard stock from dog attacks

Source: ABCNew


Some of the wild donkeys yarded during a recent muster at Elkedra Station in central Australia.

Feral donkeys from central Australia are being used to guard sheep and cattle from wild dogs in New South Wales.

Amber Driver from Elkedra Station, north of Alice Springs, says a mob of more than 100 yarded donkeys captured during a recent muster has been sent east.

She says donkeys are migrating south through the Northern Territory competing with cattle for food and water.

“They are making a big impact on what little grass we have and our water supply for our cattle so it’s really good to get the numbers down in a way that can be helpful for someone,” she said.

“Otherwise, they get culled.”

An estimated five million donkeys are roaming across remote Australia.

Ranger Michael McFarlane from the Hume Livestock Health and Pest Authority in NSW says donkeys may appear docile around people but they have a healthy dislike for canines and will run them off.

He is currently training 19 of the animals to watch over sheep and cattle.

“Donkeys in any sort of number are really difficult to get,” he said.

“I was trying to get some tame ones, some quiet ones, but you just can’t get them in numbers.

“So we just sort of put the feelers out to see if we could get some information and we finally found a bloke who knew a bloke who knew a bloke, and it was just worked on from there.”

Mr McFarlane says donkeys are already used to protect livestock in Africa.

“They are using donkeys a lot over there for protection against leopards and jackals,” he said.

“It is pretty well noted around the world that they are good protectors.”

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