From the seaside to the countryside: Algarve farm launches donkey rides to protect Miranda breed

in Algarve · 20-11-2014 14:59:00 · 0 Comments
From the seaside to the countryside: Algarve farm launches donkey rides to protect Miranda breed

A rural estate in Mexilhoeira Grande, Portimão, is offering donkey rides with the indigenous Miranda Donkeys in a bid to help stop their descent towards extinction.

The Miranda Donkey is an endangered breed indigenous to the Miranda do Douro region in northern Portugal and is distinguished from the common donkey due to its long hair and more sociable and docile nature.
In an attempt to help stop their decline a rural homestead on the fringes of the Algarve city of Portimão is organising countryside donkey rides as a tourism attraction to help preserve the breed.
In total 17 burros mirandeses live at ‘Burre Ville’, the majority of them females born in the Algarve, which is more than 500 kilometres away from the breed’s place of origin.
“We proudly participate in the maintenance of the species, preventing its extinction, which was possible” said Ana Lúcia Marques, director of Burre Ville, to Lusa News Agency.
The estate also received seven Miranda donkeys from the Association for the Study and Protection of Asinine Livestock (AEPGA), although reproduction now takes place on the Algarve farm.

There is presently just one stud on the farm, though he will soon have to be swapped for another as his offspring are coming up to reproductive age and to ensure the continuation of a pure breed there must be no consanguinity.
The sweet-natured woolly donkeys have proved particularly popular among children, whose parents visit the farm to enjoy a ride on the national treasures.
The animals’ handler, Manuel Jesus Silva, told Lusa they are easy to look after and very gentle despite every now and then being mischievous.
However, he said, they always behave on the rides and are more humble than the common donkey but “not as tough.”
When they are born, he elaborated, “They look like blackberries” because they are born with black coats which with time fade to a light brown.
The donkey rides at the farm – which this summer also offered accommodation – last between an hour and an hour and a half, but there is also the option to do a longer trek to the Algarve Race Track, which the farm backs on to.
According to Ana Marques negotiations are ongoing with a tourist entertainment company for tourists to embark on two-day donkey-back camping treks in the surrounding countryside.
Another project in the pipeline is the possibility of a mental health officer visiting the farm to conduct therapeutic sessions with the docile donkeys for children with handicaps or special needs.


Be the first to comment on this article
Interactive Topics, send us your comments/opinion on this article.

Please note that The Portugal News may use selected comments in the printed edition of the newspaper.