Donkeys have been living on Bonaire for hundreds of years. The animals were originally brought over by the Spaniards in the 17th century and used to perform hard labour. Once modern transport made these animals superfluous to requirements they were left to their lot. Unfortunately the donkeys did not fare well with their new-found freedom.
Since Bonaire is a dry and barren island, many donkeys die of hunger or from dehydration. Traffic presents the greatest danger. Donkeys are either killed or left badly wounded and dying along the roadside. Foals that lose their mothers are left helpless, vulnerable and as good as dead. Furthermore, the donkeys on Bonaire are regularly the victims of abuse, the examples of which are distressing: a foal stoned to death, a donkey with its ears cut off and even a donkey burned alive.
For a long time no organised help was available to these poor animals.