A donkey round-up is underway.
A recent aerial survey over the Waikoloa area found a donkey population estimated at 400-600. Severe drought conditions have been forcing donkeys to forage for something to eat or drink. Donkey’s have started coming into people’s backyards in the Village.
A friend of mine has a wonderful water feature in her backyard in the Sunset Ridge area, and one night she and her husband awoke to all this noise only to peer out their bedroom window in the middle of the morning and find two donkeys lapping up water. Of course, as soon as they knew they were “busted” they took off.
Around 2000, when the the donkeys became a nuisance at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, leaving their droppings all over the golf course, Hualalai had the donkeys rounded up by cowboys and trucked to Parker Ranch and Waikoloa. The exceptional drought in South Kohala means the donkeys are not getting enough food and water to sustain themselves, so they are resorting to swimming pools.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources will not take an active role in removing the animals because they are on private land. The Humane Society of the U.S. said they would like the WVA association to adopt out the donkeys, but only after they have been sterilized to responsible ranchers and animal lovers. Many groups are working on solutions, but the bottom line is that it will take years to get the herd down to manageable levels.
There’s no quick fix, but it’s good to know many folks out here are working on a solution, and are determined to make it work for the people as well as the donkeys. Maybe all this rain we have had lately will help out! We hope so, but just be careful driving at dusk especially.