The aim of the project is to reduce the number of road traffic accidents involving the animals at night.
Donkeys and livestock in Botswana commonly roam free on roads in search of grazing. However, when on the road at night drivers are often unable to see the animals in time to brake.
Around ten per cent of road traffic accidents in Botswana are caused by domestic animals like livestock and donkeys.
SPANA’s outreach programme has funded partner charity the Maun Animal Welfare Society (MAWS) to attach reflectors to donkeys’ ears in four northern areas of the country.
SPANA’s outreach veterinary advisor Laura Higham said: “The people that own working donkeys are some of the very poorest in Botswana’s society and often have no choice other than to let their animals roam freely in search of food in the sparse desert environment.
“This practice is essential but obviously makes the donkeys vulnerable to accidents and we hope that this simple solution will help reduce the number of collisions caused by the animals every year.”
The chairlady of MAWS Ally Lamb said: “In northern Botswana there’s one donkey for every two people and our welfare efforts for donkeys has been limited to humanely euthanasing those that have been injured in traffic accidents to prevent further suffering.
“Thanks to SPANA funding this tagging project we hope to prevent these accidents happening altogether, saving not only donkeys’ lives but also those of the occupants in vehicles that hit them.”
SPANA and MAWS hope the project will be adopted in other parts of the country and will be the first step towards making reflective tags a legal requirement for freely roaming donkeys and livestock in Botswana.