On September 16, 2011 a group of about 120 donkeys will be relocated from Waikoloa, on the big island
Hawaii. 100 of the 120 donkeys will go to Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue located in Southern California, while the remaining 20 will be relocated to the Eagle Eye Sanctuary in Northern California. There have also been efforts to adopt out the donkeys locally throughout the Hawaiian Islands and keep them close to home.
How They Got Their Name
The donkeys in Waikoloa that are causing problems weren’t always such a pest. They were originally brought to the big island and used in the working of the coffee plantations
, and they became known as “Nightingales” by locals. The donkeys were given the name “Nightingales” because of the noise the lonely donkeys make at night when everyone went to bed. As they began to get lonely at night the donkeys would cry out to each other, thus reminding their owners of a nocturnal songbird called a nightingale. At the end of World War II local farmers began to switch to more modern machinery such as surplus army jeeps because they were easier and cheaper to maintain than the sometimes stubborn donkeys.
What the Future Holds
More recently, the donkeys have been causing problems for the residents of Waikoloa because of their unchecked population. They have been trampling fences, and crossing or grazing near roadways. Over a year ago, Bergin, the lead equine vet from Aina Hou Animal Hospital, and, Inga Gibson, the Hawaii Humane Society of the United States
started a foundation called the Waikoloa Donkey Rescue and Rehoming project due to the lack of state or federal assistance in dealing with Waikoloas donkey herd. Bergin and a group of 4 vets from California will complete health check-ups, micro chipping, and a bunch of paper work on the donkeys in preparation for their long trip from Hawaii to their new homes in California.