Donkeys Run Wild in Cyprus
Dilemma raises long-lived political tensions
By Amelia Atlas,  Newser User
Posted May 31, 2009 3:25 PM CDT
1971: A man with two donkeys in a Cyprus street.    (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Wild donkeys are overrunning northern Cyprus, upsetting locals and pitting conservationists against politicians, the Independent reports. Decades after farming technology rendered them obsolete, the donkeys—now numbering about 1,000—are destroying crops and causing traffic accidents. "The donkeys are a real problem," said Mehmet Demirci, a mayor in the Turkish north. "The authorities just don't care about us."

Cypriots have fielded solutions such as:

  • Buying donkeys for use by tourists. Conservationists and Turkish Cypriot authorities nixed the plan.
  • Shooting donkeys dead. Three villagers received hefty fines for pulling the trigger.
  • Rounding up a "sustainable" donkey population to live in eco-tourist sanctuaries.
Greek farmers abandoned the beasts when Turks invaded 35 years ago, but now the donkeys haunt the Turkish north—so Greek-Turkish tensions are adding to the donkey dilemma.