Ascension : Conservation Weekly
Submitted by The Islander (Conservation Office) 29.03.2012 (Article Archived on 12.04.2012)
Donkeys were evidently imported at about the time of human settlement. The records for 1679 state:
Donkeys were evidently imported at about the time of human settlement. The records for 1679 state: “The Company our Masters have several asses on this their island some of which may be useful to those inhabitants that stand in need of them.”
In the succeeding centuries it seems likely that there were always substantial numbers of domestic donkeys on the island.
In the first decade of the 20th century an attempt was made to improve the local breed and in 1927 some of the Ascension Island donkeys were sent to St Helena. Donkeys are still used today on St Helena in a small way to work.
Donkeys were brought to Ascension shortly after 1815 and escaped from domestication in the 1830s; they mainly lived in the dry parts of the island below 300m. Numbers in the past are largely unknown.
In 1837 thirty-seven donkeys were running wild.
In 1927, after exporting about 30 donkeys to St Helena, there was thought to be still 40-50 at large. In 1936 the population was estimated as about 100 and in 1957 as somewhat higher.
In 1994 we thought that there were about 100 and later in that year about 50 were put down by the local police.
The donkeys are protected by an ordinance, but this allows for their numbers to be culled from time to time.
Being generalized herbivores, donkeys have had and are still having a prefound effect on the vegetation.
They feed on the pods of the Mexican Thorn Prosopis juliflora and the seeds pass out in their droppings.
Today there are approximately18 donkeys on the island.
We would like to say thank to the two military teams, who helped volunteered with clearing invasive plant species from around the Marine Barracks on Green Mountain and helping with the turtle monitoring and rescue. The 29 Command Regement from Plymouth and the military team from the Falklands who helped cleared Bishops Path.
Green Turtle heading back to sea
Turtle tours can now be booked either at the Conservation Office on telephone number 6359, or via the Obsidian Hotel on 6246. You may also email us on the below email addresses:
Please be advised that due to on-going field work the Conservation Office will open from 7.30am -10am during week days. We open as normal on Saturdays, 10am-12noon, signs will be posted on the door when the office is closed.
Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
Volunteers welcome. Please contact Natasha Williams or Jolene Sim. Ascension Island Conservation Department. Georgetown. Tel: 6359. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com