Activities by the Foundation for Animal Welfare in Cameroon FAWCAM have inspired hope and good news for donkeys in Cameroon. The Premier animal welfare organization in the country has made a significant difference in the lives of about 560 donkeys in Bui Division of the North West Region.
Talking to the Guardian Post recently in Bamenda on the work done on the lives of these special animals by the not for profit non-governmental organisation, the Director Prof Ben Fru Wara explained that “when FAWCAM arrived Bui some three years, the main problem encountered were animals with wounds, lameness, respiratory disease and a fungal infection called EZL that can be fatal.” Some of these donkeys he added “were looking weak and many had wounds. Others could not stand for long periods because they had overgrown hooves and injured   legs.”
On the owners, the Professor noted that “their owners nearly 500 local subsistence farmers and cattle herders rely on their donkeys to transport goods to market and carry water and fire wood for domestic use but know little about how to look after them. These owners depend on animals for their livelihoods, yet many of them have no animal welfare training and don’t know how to identify the signs of disease, sickness and overwork. They lack access to professional veterinary care.”
FAWCAM Director however regretted that these donkey owners of Bui were not wicked to their animals but were ignorant of good donkey management care. “They overloaded the animals and beat them when they don’t obey. When the donkeys develop wounds or injuries the owners used local methods to treat them. In some cases they succeeded but in others the animals died.”
It is within this framework that FAWCAM in collaboration with government staff from the Divisional Delegation of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries with funds from Donkey Sanctuary UK organized a series of educational workshop which has successfully replaced harmful traditional practices with correct and compassionate animal care. 
“After three years work with the donkey community of Bui Division, almost all the donkey owners had become members of the new donkey cooperative societies created by the Animal Welfare Officers (AWOs) of FAWCAM.” Prof Fru Ben adding that “attitudes towards donkey welfare have made a complete turnaround” with a majority of owners now able to understand what animal welfare means and can now identify the signs of distress, sickness and overwork of their donkeys.
“They have stopped working donkeys that are under two years old. They now understand the danger of making heavily pregnant donkeys work and they seek treatment for their donkeys from qualified veterinarians and get a veterinary technicians or community Animal Health Workers (CAHWS) to trim their hooves.” FAWCAM Director noted.
He appreciated the state of the animals saying “Most of the donkeys in Bui are now looking beautiful and healthy without wounds or infections of any kind. This is thanks to the knowledge of the Donkey Sanctuary UK without which nothing could have been done in the interests of the donkey owners and their donkeys. The FAWCAM is hopeful of extending its work to the donkey owning community of the Northern regions of Cameroon beginning with Benoue Division pending the approval of the Donkey Sanctuary of Great Britain.”
It will obviously be good news should the new plan see the light of day.
Derick BAKAH

Derick BAKAH

Bakah Derick is a Broadcast Presenter and Multimedia specialist with focus on sharing with the rest of the world the daily happenings in the Northwest Region of Cameroon. You can contact us on +237 675460750 or debakah2004@gmail.com.

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