The distinctive call of the donkey rings out in a welcome salute as visitors approach Aruba's Donkey Sanctuary. Warm muzzles close in to inspect new arrivals and to offer an additional greeting. The herd of donkeys, in their patchwork of coats, from grey to deep chocolate brown, floppy ears and inquisitive personalities, often enchant visitors.
Once the major mode of transportation for island residents, donkeys were left adrift in modern times, with cars now trundling down the same cactus lined pathways where they once traveled, carrying passengers and pulling carts.
Previous to the establishment of the "Save Our Donkeys" foundation, a large number of donkeys were left wandering free, having to search out their own food and water and sometimes susceptible to abuse.The idea for a sanctuary, where these beloved animals can live out their lives in a protected environment, became a reality in 1997. Approximately 40 donkeys now live at the sanctuary in Santa Lucia, with an additional 15 donkeys housed in Bringamosa.
The Santa Lucia-based sanctuary welcomes guests, offering information and a tour of the grounds to interested visitors. The guest-friendly sanctuary provides a fun environment to interact with the donkeys as well as represents a comfortable stop for a snack and refreshment and an opportunity to buy original, donkey-themed gifts and souvenirs. (All profits go to support foundation efforts).Throughout the year, Donkey Sanctuary Aruba volunteers continue their work to protect the donkeys as well as organize various fundraising events.