Департамент культуры POITOU DONKEYS ARE COMING TO US!

POITOU DONKEYS ARE COMING TO US!

30.07.2019

Unusual mammoth donkeys, or donkeys Poitou, will settle at Moscow zoo. Two females are planned to be brought from the Vyshkov zoo (Czech Republic). Poitou donkeys will appear in the collection of the zoo for the first time in its history. The arrival of these amazing ungulates to Moscow is scheduled for autumn. 

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Poitou are one of the rarest and least known donkey breeds. It is simply impossible to confuse them with someone else: these ungulates have a bright appearance, a distinctive feature of which is a long chocolate or black wool hanging to the ground and visually resembling rocker dreadlocks.

Presumably, the donkeys of Poitou were bred in the Roman Empire. Initially, they were used as a draught force - because of their endurance and the ability to carry significant loads. Poitou are considered the largest among donkeys. Hence their second name is mammoth donkeys. On average, the height of an adult male Poitou reaches 150 cm at the withers, and females - 135-140 cm.

This species was especially popular in the middle ages in France. Then owning Poitou was a great luxury that only representatives of the nobility could afford. However, with the advent of the technological revolution, the need for breeding these animals has disappeared, and by the mid-20th century, the population was in a deplorable state. It was succeeded to revive it thanks to the work of French livestock breeders, in particular the activities of the special Poitou conservation program, which was launched in 1980. Now the main population of these amazing donkeys is concentrated in Western and Central Europe, there are also separate populations in the United States, Great Britain and Australia.

“Mammoth donkeys are not very common in the collections of modern zoos. However, they are always popular with visitors due to their memorable appearance, activity and friendly attitude towards people. We are very pleased that these unusual ungulates will replenish the collection of Moscow zoo. Now we are actively preparing for the arrival of the Poitou, equipping an enclosure for them and we hope that soon our guests will be able to observe them and get acquainted with the peculiarities of their behavior,” – Moscow zoo CEO Svetlana Akulova said.

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