Donkeys provide a valuable service in the maintenance of "torrent" river beds.

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The herd of donkeys used to keep the dry riverbeds in the municipality of Andratx clean is being targeted and harassed. The team which care for the donkeys have reported that over the past week two large water containers, which the donkeys drink from, have been stolen along with a large amount of their food, including bails of hay.

Toni, one of the carers, said today: "We have the donkeys used to being given a few bundles of hay every day, it boosts their diet and we can’t for the life of us understand who would want to steal such things and take away the food and water from these poor animals. They are carrying out a very important social job."

The herd keeps dry riverbeds clean in various parts of Majorca and there are 298 donkeys in total. They belong to Naturapark and the programme has the full support of the Balearic government and the various councils which they help.

Over a period of four days, a donkey can clear between 100 and 120 metres of scrubland and once a dry river bed has been cleaned of shrubs etc. they are moved on to another.

Many of them are donkeys which have been rescued.