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    Name: Ernest

    Type: Mammoth Donkey

    Color: Grey

      Markings: None

    Sex: Gelding

    Birthday: 1/1/2009


Ark Watch logo 2022

Ernest was saved because a group of rescues worked together to save him – and 43 others. Here is their story:

Celine Myers of the Ark Watch Foundation heard about a group of 44 donkeys in danger of going to slaughter in Beebe, AK. She reached out to Tia Bonkowski of Turning Pointe Donkey Rescue to see if she would be willing to help. Tia knew of the kill buyer and was willing to act as liaison with him on Ark Watch’s behalf. Celine also asked Tia to reach out to the Humane Society of North Texas and see if HSNT would be willing to take the donkeys in, care for them and adopt them out, if a grant could be secured to help cover the costs. Fortunately, HSNT agreed to take the group of 44 donkeys.

Ark Watch Foundation covered the funds needed to purchase the donkeys and pay for their transport to HSNT. Red Bell Run contributed to the grant sent to HSNT to be used towards vetting and caring for the donkeys until they could be adopted out. We knew the donkeys would arrive thin and ill with respiratory issues. When the haulers arrived to pick up the first group of donkeys, they reported back that all 44 of the donkeys were in very poor condition. The hauler called to say that there were several donkeys in the group that needed immediate medical attention. One of these was a large Mammoth jack who was terribly emaciated and covered in bite marks from fighting. That Mammoth donkey would be named “Ernest”. All of the donkeys had pneumonia, and the vets started them on medications to resolve it. They were put on a refeeding program to safely reintroduce hay and feed and avoid the possibility of developing Refeeding Syndrome which often kills emaciated animals once they begin eating again if food is not reintroduced properly.

Ernest turned out to be quite the character. Quite handleable, he was very curious about all that was going on at the clinic. He’d pop his big head over the stall dividers and the staff said Ernest really enjoyed watching his neighbors receive their medical treatments. Although Ernest was an intact jack, he did not exhibit any “studdy” behavior. This was quite surprising since the 10 yr. old Ernest had obviously been used for breeding. When Ernest had gained enough weight that it was safe to anesthetize him, he was castrated. The vet reported that Ernest had the largest “family jewels” she had ever seen! Despite this, the surgery went well and Ernest recovered quickly without incident. Thirty days post-surgery, Ernest boarded the Equine Express trailer and headed off to the Red Bell Run Sanctuary in NC. Once at Red Bell Run Ernest quickly settled into his new home. Charlotte, a young molly mule who, sadly, had been orphaned, traveled with Ernest to North Carolina and the two became fast friends on the trip and remain so today. We discovered that Ernest has a decided dislike for dogs (Mr. Waylon, the Red Bell Run Coonhound found that out when he decided to enter Ernest’s pen uninvited and barely escaped)! Other than that, Ernest is a lover, not a fighter, is very well-behaved and spends his days happily grazing with Charlotte who will occasionally convince him to trot a short distance. Ernest’s feet were long-neglected in his previous life, so he requires specialty farrier care, but has become quite the gentleman about it, and is a favorite here at the Sanctuary with his ultra-long ears! 

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Ernest and Charlotte grooming each other

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