Up Close and Personal With The Wild Donkeys of St. John
They’re among the most curious of wild animals you’ll encounter on your Caribbean travels.
You’ll find them all over St. John, the smallest and most laid back of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
As you can see in the great image above captured by Flickr user David Barnas, these nosy neddies aren’t shy about getting to know visitors to the island, especially those with food, of course. Leave a meal unattended and out in the open long enough, as I once did many years ago on Cinnamon Bay, and, just like these mooching monkeys in St. Kitts, they’re sure to saunter by and help themselves.
Like a lot of the non-native animal species found throughout our islands today, the wild donkeys in St. John (and elsewhere in our region) are a product of the plantation days. Back then, sugar mills required donkey-power. Once they didn’t, the donkeys were left to roam free, forever changing the ecological balance on the island.
This has had its pluses and minuses, of course.
While many have viewed the donkeys as a cute and somewhat kitschy part of the St. John experience over the years, others have decried the vast proliferation of the animals and the attendant strains they’ve placed on St. John’s resources.
(More on St. John’s donkey debate here.)
No matter how you feel about ’em, though, you’re sure to come across a donkey or two whenever you’re in St. John. Generally they travel in small groups of two or three, mostly minding their own business.
Got a good story of a personal donkey encounter in St. John? Tell us about it in the comments section below…
Photo credit: David Barnas via Flickr.com.