A Message From The Donkeys of St. John

A Message From The Donkeys of St. John

The donkeys of St. John are always an exciting sight. Their calmness almost makes them seem domesticated, but it is important to remember that they are quite the opposite. 

Preserving and protecting the wildlife of St. John is an important duty of residents and guests. Despite what the donkeys themselves may tell you, they are free roaming animals with plenty of natural resources to support their dietary needs. To put it simply – we should not be feeding them. 

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Tempting as they are, the donkeys, along with all wildlife, should be enjoyed at a distance for your safety and for the safety of the animals. The vegetation on St. John is high in calories year-round. Excessive calorie intake can be very dangerous for the animals.

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It is also important to remember that luring animals toward your vehicle can be dangerous for all involved. Bites and kicks can and do happen and the animals will learn to approach cars instead of avoiding roadways. Additionally, cars abruptly stopping in the middle of the road to greet a donkey can be a hazard for other motorists.

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St. John Wildlife Rehabilitation is working to spread the message that the best way to enjoy our animal ambassadors is at a respectful distance. The organization is an all-volunteer charitable nonprofit 501(c)(3) formed to provide assistance and care for sick, injured and orphaned wildlife, and to promote stewardship and compassion for the wildlife that call St. John home.
If you see a wild animal in need, please call 340-643-9453.  Last year alone, St. John Wildlife Rehabilitation received over 250 calls for assistance about a wide variety of animal issues.

Education can lessen human/animal conflict; that helps keep both humans and animals safer.  To find out more about what the organization does and how you can support through volunteering or donating, please visit https://www.stjohnwildliferehab.org/.

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Photo by Island Media Co.

4 thoughts on “A Message From The Donkeys of St. John”

  1. Thank you for posting this. The last time we were on island in 2021, we continuously encountered a mother donkey and her baby on the main highway near Coral Bay. Traffic would often stop to pet and feed them, and we could see this was creating a dangerous reinforcement. I stated more that once that I feared deeply for their safety, as they seemed to stay on the road and there were numerous speeding vehicles that came so close to them. Unfortunately, only a few weeks after we left I saw a post where this same young donkey was tragically killed when he was hit by a vehicle and that his grief stricken mother stayed near his body for a very long time. Please please please leave them be and do not touch or feed. Their lives literally depend on it.

  2. As a resident of Coral Bay I am very concerned about the increasing amount of donkeys. St. John Wildlife needs to develop a program to address this problem. Controlling the amount of donkeys is not only beneficial to the human population but also the donkey population. We should also be dealing with the feral cats, sheep and goats but that is another story! Are these signs being put on the ferries? Maybe also a way for villa owners to purchase in a different format?

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