LONDON, November 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
A British animal charity has launched a programme to put reflective ear tags on 500 donkeys in northern Botswana.
The aim of the project is to reduce the number of road traffic accidents involving the animals at night.
Donkeys and livestock in Botswana commonly roam free on roads in search of grazing. However at night drivers are often unable to see the animals on the road in time to brake.
Around ten per cent of road traffic accidents in Botswana are caused by domestic animals like livestock and donkeys.
The UK-based international working-animal charity SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) has funded partner charity the Maun Animal Welfare Society (MAWS) to attach reflectors to donkeys' ears in four northern areas of the country.
SPANA's outreach veterinary advisor Laura Higham said: "The people that own working donkeys are some of the very poorest in Botswana's society and often have no choice other than to let their animals roam freely in search of food in the sparse desert environment.
"This practice is essential but obviously makes the donkeys vulnerable to accidents and we hope that this simple solution will help reduce the number of collisions caused by the animals every year."
According to the chairlady of MAWS, Ally Lamb: "In northern Botswana there's one donkey for every two people and our welfare efforts for donkeys have been limited to humanely euthanasing those that have been injured in traffic accidents to prevent further suffering.
"Thanks to SPANA funding this tagging project we hope to prevent these accidents happening altogether, saving not only donkeys' lives but also those of the occupants in vehicles that hit them."
The charities hope the project will be the first step towards making reflective tags a legal requirement for freely roaming donkeys and livestock in Botswana.
For more information visit http://www.spana.org.
Photos available for download at http://www.spana.org/botswanaears (copyright: MAWS/SPANA)
SPANA has been the charity for the working animals of the world since 1923, providing free veterinary care to horses, donkeys, mules and camels in some of the world's poorest countries. http://www.spana.org
Maun Animal Welfare Society is a charity that provides free veterinary care to the animals of low-income individuals in and around Maun, northern Botswana. http://www.maunanimalwelfare.com
For any further media enquiries please contact SPANA's communications officer Katie Kennedy on +44-(0)207-269-2691, Katie@spana.org
SOURCE SPANA (Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad)