Written by Kaylyn Bodden

A Day in the Life: Donkey Sanctuary


Marina Melis is the founder of the Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire. She openly admits that donkeys are her life and is totally dedicated to the well-being and rescue of donkeys on her island home. For the past 23 years she has been a caretaker for the sanctuary, a role that she finds both challenging and rewarding. For more information on the Donkey Sanctuary in Bonaire please visit https://donkeysanctuary.org/en/

Tell me about your job and what you do on a day-to-day basis:
We take care of 600 donkeys in our sanctuary. The morning feeding commences at 7:30am, then we clean until 10am, then we open the doors of our sanctuary for visitors. Some choose to explore the park, which spans across 150 acres, by car or scooter. In the afternoon, at 3pm, we feed the donkeys hay and old vegetables. It’s not unusual to spend days and nights tending to the sick and orphan donkeys.

What are your customers like?
We attract visitors, some are divers who visit the island and all are animal lovers.

What type of people do you meet?
We meet all kinds of people from young to old, housekeepers to doctors and directors of big companies.

Are you affiliated with any local, environmental organisations?
We are a non-profit organisation; however we work with STINAPA, an organisation in Bonaire who help protect the wildlife and environment.

What motivates you to go to work each day?
I love taking care of the animals that need help.

What do you enjoy best about your job?
I love that the donkeys are receiving medical attention and love. We protect the donkeys.

What do you least enjoy?
Attending to the donkeys that get hit by cars.

What are your future goals?
To accommodate as many donkeys as we can and to put an end to inbreeding.

What is your proudest accomplishment?
As a result of our sanctuary, many car accidents have been prevented and donkey suffering has decreased.



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