World Donkey Day Date in the current year: May 8, 2024

World Donkey Day World Donkey Day celebrates one of the most hard-working animals that doesn’t always get all the credit it deserves. It is observed annually on May 8.

The domestic donkey, typically referred to as simply the donkey, is a domesticated hoofed animal that belongs to the same family as horses and zebras. It is thought to be the descendant of the African wild ass and may be classified either as a subspecies thereof, or as a separate species.

The donkey was domesticated in Nubia (a region in Africa along the Nile river) about 5,000 to 7,000 years ago. It is believed that the donkey was one of the last hoofed mammals to be domesticated. From Africa, the donkey spread to Asia and then to Europe. It was brought to the New World by Christopher Columbus during his second voyage.

Since their domestication, donkeys have been used as working animals: for draft work in agriculture and transport, as riding animals, for milling, threshing, raising water and other work. Today, there are over 40 million donkeys in the world, and most of them are used as working animals in underdeveloped countries, being the cheapest form of agricultural power after human labor. In developed countries, donkeys are used as pets, for donkey rides, to guard sheep, to sire mules. They are also sometimes milked or raised for meat.

Donkeys have a reputation for being stubborn, but animal behaviorists attribute this trait to a strong sense of self-preservation. A donkey won’t be forced or frightened into doing something it perceives as dangerous, but once you earn the animal’s trust, it can be a loyal companion and a hard and dependable worker. Donkeys are generally believed to be friendly, playful and intelligent animals that are eager to learn.

Ethnoecologist, camelist and low carbon livestock expert Dr. Abdul Raziq Kakar first came up with the idea of celebrating donkeys in 2010 while working with camels for his doctoral research in Pakistan. At some point he realized that donkeys were more hard-working and resilient to dry climate and harsh working conditions than camels, and decided that these amazing animals deserved to be recognized.

The date of May 8 was suggested by Peta Jones from South Africa, who loved donkeys as much as Dr. Raziq did and supported his initiative wholeheartedly. She chose it because May 8 is exactly a week after International Labor Day, and donkeys are used as working animals in many parts of the world. However, it wasn’t until 2018 that World Donkey Day received wide exposure thanks to social media and became an annual event observed in different corners of the world.

The main goal of World Donkey Day is to highlight the importance of donkeys and raise awareness of donkey cruelty. There are many ways to celebrate this amazing holiday. You can learn interesting facts about donkeys and share them with anyone who is willing to listen, read a book or watch a movie featuring donkeys (a Shrek marathon, anyone?), visit a farm or a petting zoo that has donkeys, take a donkey ride, donate to or volunteer at a donkey rescue or another charity helping donkeys in need, symbolically adopt a donkey from a sanctuary for abused and neglected donkeys, and spread the word on social media using the hashtags #WorldDonkeyDay and #DonkeyDay.

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World Donkey Day, international observances, environmental observances, Dr. Abdul Raziq Kakar, domestic donkey