The story of the donkey in Aruba

In the Donkey Sanctuary we tell the story of the donkeys in Aruba, or something like that:

Donkey with peacock

The donkeys originally come from North Africa. The Spaniards brought the donkeys to Aruba 500 years ago. They served as workhorses for transportation and in the gold mines.

When cars came to the island in the middle of the last century, the donkeys were released. Cars are much easier to use. So there was the problem that about 1400 donkeys ran around on the small island. Donkeys eat their way through the gardens. Donkeys use the roads as we use them. In contrast to deer or stags, they do not cross the road, they walk along the streets. Many were killed in car accidents. Many were killed on government orders and others fell victim to viral disease. In the 1980s there were only about 20 donkeys left in Aruba.

There are about 120 donkeys in the Donkey Sanctuary, another 30 still live in the wild. All are descendants of the 20 donkeys. The donkey genetic pool in Aruba is not good. That is why all male donkeys in the Donkey Sanctuary are neutered. They are not supposed to have any more offspring. Often the babies are born dead. Donkey Sanctuary Aruba is making an effort to get some donkeys from Bonaire or Curacao. This can then improve the blood. The program was stopped by Covid-19. If it can be continued, you will get healthy breeding again after about 10 generations.

The Donkey Sanctuary was founded in the mid-1990s. In the beginning they started with 10 donkeys. The foundation does not receive any funding from the government, everything is financed through donations and volunteer work.


At this point I always try to sell food and lure visitors to the souvenir shop.