Please Do Not Feed the Donkeys

This picture was posted on our Facebook page yesterday. It infuriates me.
This picture was posted on our Facebook page yesterday. It infuriates me.

I was over at Maho Bay with some tour guests yesterday when I came across a young girl feeding a donkey. She was feeding it peanuts, which doesn’t sound awful in theory, but it is. I kindly asked her to stop and explained why, and she did. So a big thank you to that young girl.

I posted a photo of the donkey on my Facebook page yesterday and, again, asked people to not feed them. Then the picture above was posted. In it, one of the donkeys is eating a Tootsie Pop. A Tootsie Pop!!! In what world can anyone think that is ok?!

I went straight to the National Park about this and this is their exact words as to why we should not feed the donkeys:

“It causes them to be aggressive and bite. It is very bad for them to eat common people food. It trains them to stay close to the road looking for handouts. When close to the road, they are at risk of being injured or killed! If hit by a small car, could cause serious injuries to passengers and particularly small children.”

The donkeys are perfectly happy grazing on grass. They do not need us to feed them.

So if you’d like to kill one of our donkeys, keep on feeding them those Tootsie Pops. If you love our donkeys, please love them from afar.

(And yes, I know I’m a tad crabby today, but this really bothers me)

22 thoughts on “Please Do Not Feed the Donkeys”

  1. It would be great if small information “billboards ” could be placed at all of the overlooks and a little pamphlet be given to visitors when they pick up the rental cars and also in the rental villas

    • I often thought it would be great if the National Park, in conjunction with the airlines would do a short video about protecting the flora and fauna both above and below the sea. It that could air on flights as they approach St.Thomas and St.Croix, Puerto Rico etc….just a friendly reminder about reef safe snorkeling, boating practices, leaving nothing but footprints etc…

      • If we have to have a video or sign for everything humans would never learn common sense. Please don’t donkey shame those of us that feed them down by the water at Skinny legs. They deserve some apples or other natural foods. Of course it would not be the donkeys fault if they bit or kicked someone. I believe if you shake a Pringle’s can and not offer some fruit ….“Karma”, I hope you don’t get seriously hurt. I love the USVI donkeys!

  2. You are a bit crabby today like a old maid:) But thats ok because l do remember as a child l was told to feed the donkey a sugar cube and it unknowingly bit my hand that was holding the tasty treat. Plus they can kick too so do not stand in back of one. l must add for innocent youngsters it does give them a real love for wild animals in up close and personal innocent interactions that they will carry with them to adulthood.

  3. If the island is so concerned about the donkeys maybe the over flowing dumpters should be looked into. Thats usually were you can find these donkeys munching on cardboard from a discharged tv box.

  4. I’ve only been to STJ three times, but I have seen donkeys at the dumpsters, and chewing on cardboard, too. It’s sad to see that. As for feeding them, of course NOBODY should be feeding, or getting close enough to, or letting them stick their heads in the car. One day, someone will be bitten by a donkey just doing what comes naturally after years of handouts, and then it will be the donkey’s fault! Just like the kid who fell into the gorilla habitat (because he climbed on the railing), and the little girl who was pulled into the water by a seal (who thought her white dress was more of the white bread they had been feeding it). You have to wonder what people are thinking sometimes.

  5. Being that I am a farrier (I shoe horses) by trade I completely understand and agree with this statement, but also I have to admit that I always carry granola bars in my rental for them… I guess I should change my habit….

  6. As we say in NH, “A fed bear is a dead bear.” The same holds true for donkeys. I wonder, though, if there’s any kind of birth control program for these sweet animals. We used to see the occasional donkey when we first started coming to STJ in the 70’s, but there are so many more now on the roads, I worry about hitting one.

    • I’ve been told that many of the donkeys have been gelded in the past. I too think it is time to do more

      I’ve been told that there was “birth control” done. They have gelded some of the males. Don’t know if any has been done recently.

  7. I feel a little embarrassed because when I am there I feed them apples, carrots and celery. They actually eat healthier than my grand-kids. I’ve actually purchased the fruits and veggies for them and went on a search mission just to feed them. The year STJ had the drought and the donkey watering stations were set up – I put gallons of water in the jeep and anywhere I saw I donkey I left water. But I understand that it teaches them to go to vehicles so okay, I promise I won’t do it again.

  8. I used to think carrots, fruits, etc. were fine too, and I appreciate all of you and your positive responses. It’s just that darn Tootsie Pop that really got under my skin. 🙂

  9. I just arrived home after my 4th trip to St. John. 10 glorious days! We stayed at Zootenvaal and had quite a few donkey friends hanging around. They were trying to get treats from us, but we left them with friendly hellos.

  10. Hi Jenn,

    I’d be more than happy to post a “Don’t Feed the Donkeys” bumper sticker on my island vehicle…. maybe some could be made?

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