A new soft toy is to be sold by WHSmith to highlight the plight of donkeys working in the world’s poorest countries.
Britain’s largest overseas equine welfare charity, the Brooke, will receive 32% of the profits from sales of the toy.
Akiki, who is the latest addition to the company’s cuddly toy ‘adoption’ range, has been designed in the mould of a real donkey in Egypt called Akiki, who labours in difficult conditions.
After buying a toy, the new owner contacts the Brooke to receive a personalised adoption certificate and updates on real working donkeys like Akiki.
When Akiki collapsed under the weight of his load he was treated by a team from the Brooke. The charity has 70 mobile vet teams around the world who provide free treatment for horses, ponies, donkeys and mules, and advice to owners on their animals’ health and welfare.
A spokesman for the Brooke said she was delighted about the toy adoption initiative.
“This will raise our profile among non-equine audiences where we are still relatively unknown,” she said, adding, “the toy is so cute.”
There are 11 other cuddly animals in the range, each of which benefits a different charity. Together they raise more than £100,000 for the charities each year.
Akiki will be available at £24.99 in 200 WHSmith stores from 8 October until the end of December.