Possibly the world’s cutest foal is being hand-reared by caregivers after his mum decided that motherhood was not for her.
The tiny newborn donkey foal is being cared for by international animal welfare charity, The Donkey Sanctuary, which had rescued the mare.
The mare, Millie, arrived into the care of The Donkey Sanctuary in a poor condition. She was relinquished in 2017 along with seven other donkeys after their owner died. At just two years old, the young nervous donkey was up to six months in foal and needed expert care to bring her back to good health if she was to be able to safely carry and deliver a healthy foal.
But nature did not take its course, said Leyla Anstee, farm manager of The Donkey Sanctuary’s Brookfield Farm.
“The mare and foal were not together or showing any signs of the bonding process which would normally take place. We carefully tried to encourage her to accept him, but this young and inexperienced mum simply did not want to let her foal suckle – it was clear that she had rejected him.”
Despite his rocky start, young Ben appears to be coping well with being hand-reared, Anstee said. “Millie is also in good health and has since returned to normal life within the herd.”
The foal has been named Ben K, in memory of staff member Ben Kennett who died in March 2018. Ben worked at The Donkey Sanctuary for 26 years and was a well-known character at the charity.
Maxine Carter, farm manager at The Donkey Sanctuary’s Slade House Farm where Ben worked says: “Ben was a strong and wonderful man. This place was his life, Ben loved his donkeys as much as we loved him and we feel that naming the new foal Ben K in his memory is a fitting tribute.”
The Donkey Sanctuary champions donkeys and their welfare, and aims for a world where donkeys live free from suffering and their contribution to humanity is fully valued.