Group Title: Olasee Davis articles
Title: Protect park from donkeys
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 Material Information
Title: Protect park from donkeys
Series Title: Olasee Davis articles
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Davis, Olasee
Publication Date: April 3, 1991
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300919
Volume ID: VID00024
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text

Our environment

Back then, we never thought
donkeys would become a nuisance
by breaking fences, destroying
other property, braying loudly at
eight Wo desraoying vegetatioo
"Whenever a species is intro-
duced to an environment without
taking into consideration its food
habits and migration patterns, and
without a predator to. control it, the
animal will eventually disrupt the
ecosystem, and certain species.of
plants can become extincLA system
of checks and balances ensures sr-
vival of all species.
For a couple of years, concern
has been growing among St. John
residents, local government offl-
cials and Park Service staff about
the eological effects of expand
ing donkey population. estimat-
ed there ae 240 to 300 donkeys.
Since the Vigia Ilands Nato-
al Park.brings millions oftUist
dollar to the local economy, the
auk Svieoa tr Uingta find ways

100 eot hllTohse d fork y sn s to
Stbeii doafcm i upwsbe ttIl^
sap ieas it.J1olnco ids
ttolJland fah bf fds.
Today seoatls 50 to
100 foot Sall. ftoreat coalala a
large, number of native plant
cpte, but concern is glowing that
donkeys, wild goats ad wild pigs
may prevent te continued regener-
atio of some native species.
On the other hand, some real-
dents of St John wat to poect the
dofty. donkeys should
be protected because they are exotic
animals and part of the Virgin
Mands' natural here.
As at Yedowstone, Park Service
officials ithe Virgin Islands face a
tough situation. Then is no easy
answer to the donkey problem on
If -we want to protect the V.I.
National Park ecosystem, then as
concerned -residents and caviron-
mntaaliss we must wo togetherto
solve the problem. After all, the
donley did not ask to bome a m s-
ident ofthe Virgin Islands.

Oose Di s, who holds a mas-
ar ofdcence degree iran man-
qgasent ad forestry eogy, is a
St. Croib ecologis4 activist and

Eavironmentalistsand experts
on the Yellowstone staff battle,
often unsuccessfully. with other,
interest groups on the National Park
Service's handling of the bison that
roam the park. Here in the Virgin
Islands our own national park on St
John is faced with a similar situa-
tion with donkeys.
The donkeys, which originated
in nothet Afri we introduced
to the Caribbean in the middle of
the 16th century. Today thee ani-
mals are recognized as "exotic
In 1716 some Danish settlers
began to dear forests on St. John to
plant sugar cane and coUon. WMid-
mills were used in the crushing of
sugar can until they wee replaced
by animal treadmills. Thus donkeys
became a factor in agricultural pro-
duction in the Virgin bnlaud
Donkeys were also. used as
transportation. At that time, don-
keys were not a problem to St.
John's ecosystem because they
were tethered or confined in one
place by faners.
With the introduction of vehicles
to St. John, use of donkeys
decreased. As agriculture declined
on the island, donkeys became an
exotic specai; and by the 1950s
most donkeys were released to
roam freely.

The DailyNews, Friday, April03,1991 2

Protect park from donkeys


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