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A survivor's tale

Created: Sunday, 03 September 2017 Written by Julie Savill

Forget the donkeys you see giving rides on the beach, they are mere miniatures compared to the majestic Baudet de Poitou.  With the males standing a minimum of 140cm high at the shoulder and with their coats forming dreadlocks that Bob Marley would have been proud of, this is probably a donkey like no other you have ever seen.  

Prized in France for their size, and crossed with horses to create massive mules for work, these gentle giants have had careers of their own working in the salt marshes of the Charente-Maritime. The sand flies would attack the legs of the donkeys so the owners clad them in canvas leggings to protect them.  The leggings have morphed over time into cute gingham 'pyjamas' that the baudets wear for fetes and photo opportunities. They don't appear to mind...

But it hasn't all been fancy clothes and smiles for the camera.  A census in 1977 discovered only 44 baudets in existence.  By 2005 that number had grown to 450 purebred Poitou donkeys and the recovery continues.

The owners of Beaux Villages, Rob and Lynn, recently adopted two baudets, a mother and son pair who arrived in style at their new home to join two other donkeys and share a peaceful life.  Mum, Perle, came out of the horsebox in one giant leap.  We think she's happy to have found her forever home...

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