An endangered “gentle giant” donkey stallion has been welcomed by staff at an AI centre in the hope of preserving the breed.
Cracker, an eight-year-old 15.3hh North American mammoth jackstock donkey, arrived at Stallion AI Services in Shropshire last week.
A spokesman for Stallion AI said Cracker’s owner, Colette Evans, contacted the centre after seeing it featured on Countryfile in July. In the episode, presenter Adam Henson visited Stallion AI Services to look at the pioneering science being used to help save endangered breeds, such as the Suffolk horse.
“Cracker is one of only four mammoth jackstock stallions, with a maximum of 20 jackstocks in the UK,” he said.
“Cracker’s parentage goes back to the renowned Garrett Mammoth Jackstock Stud in Oklahoma. His great-grandsire is an American breed champion.”
The spokesman said Colette, who has imported two mammoth jackstock jennys from the stud in Oklaoma, plans to increase awareness of the “gentle giant” breed.
“Colette has broken Cracker to ride and drive. He often parades at breed society events,” he said.
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Stallion AI Services and Suffolk horses will feature on Countryfile on 14 July
‘Hopefully this may be a way to stop these breeds from disappearing’
“The North American jackstock evolved in the late 17th century when George Washington and Henry Clay wanted to produce a working ass for war and farming purposes. They imported large breed donkeys from Europe and crossbred until they achieved the type they wanted.”
Cracker is expected to be at Stallion AI for a couple of weeks whilst semen is collected for freezing, which will be available for purchase.
Tullis Matson, Stallion AI services managing director, told H&H: “This is the first donkey we have collected from, and for it to be such a rare breed makes it extra special. The breed is endangered with only small numbers left worldwide.”
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