An equine charity has launched a desperate appeal to save the lives of donkeys in drought-stricken Kenya.

UK-based charity Brooke is taking action to provide feed and water to almost 14,000 donkeys in the East African country.

These equines provide a lifeline to poor people living in rural areas.

“Crippling seasonal drought is becoming more frequent in Africa,” said Dil Peeling, head of animal welfare and sustainability at Brooke.

“We saw it where we work in Senegal in 2015, and now in Kenya.

“Working donkeys are vital to people’s livelihoods here — they carry water and food for families, fuel and building materials. They help people earn the money they use to put food on the table and children in school.

“Time is running out – we need to act now.”

Brooke has set a target of £23,600 to be raised through JustGiving.

The problem

Along with their owners, Kenya’s working donkeys are suffering from lack of food and water.

Below average rainfall has caused a drought in the country, and on 10 February the government declared the drought a national disaster.

It is affecting 23 arid and semi-arid counties and pockets of other areas and is expected to last until July.

The drought situation is set to get worse over the coming weeks.

Government aid has started, but working donkeys are being left out of current emergency response action, so Brooke’s team in Nairobi has stepped in.

Alongside their day-to-day work, they will be providing water to 13,100 donkeys, and feed to 800.

“It’s estimated that one donkey can support a family of six, so the work is also set to benefit 80,000 people,” added a Brooke spokesman.

“To help thousands of people and their working donkeys, support the Brooke action for working horses and donkeys appeal.”