By ANNE CANALP
Minister Fikri Ataoğlu visited the Dipkarpaz project area with officials and Taşkent volunteer Kemal Basat and his team to see the first humane cage “traps” set for the animals, baited with barley and hay.
A 600m2 temporary holding pen near the tip of the peninsula after the Apostolos Andreas Monastery has been set up to treat the donkeys as they are transferred, after which they will be set free in the area.
Double crash barriers were installed from coast to coast were installed in January 2015 to prevent donkeys straying from the fenced area but an initial attempt by the Environmental Protection Department to catch and transfer the herd last year was unsuccessful.
Local mayor Suphi Coşkun said: “Dipkarpaz has suffered from this donkey problem for 40 years and it was a wound which would never heal.
“If we had had such effective ministers at that time, it would never have come to this. My thanks to Mr Ataoğlu as I now believe that it will finally be solved.”
The minister said that the roaming donkeys had now strayed as far as Mehmetçik village.
He added that foals could be weaned, tagged and tamed and given to farmers and thanked Mr Basat for his voluntary involvement.
The Taşkent team have already taken on the training of another donkey which bit its owner.
Taşkent volunteer Ulaş Şeherlioğlu said: “We are two weeks into the project and have been building traps, arranging transportation vehicles and setting up the castration area for male donkeys.”
Mr Ataoğlu said a small fee could be charged for visitors who wished to view the herd which would contribute to their upkeep and care, to be supervised by his ministry.
He added that, once rounded up, the next stage of the scheme would be veterinary inspections and the creation of a register so that numbers could be ascertained.
The Karpaz donkey herds have never been reliably counted and are difficult to find in the low-lying bush. They have also suffered due to their natural territorial disputes, as well as those with farmers and villagers.
At least two people have died in traffic accidents with donkeys and a driver had a narrow escape from a donkey collision this week.
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