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The Donkey: Africa’s Next Endangered Animal

A farmer riding a donkey leaves his crops at an area of farms in the outskirts of Sokoto, Sokoto State, Nigeria on April 22, 2019. Luis TATO / AFP

When you think of endangered African animals threatened by poachers, donkeys typically do not come to mind. But the Nigerian government wants to change that by classifying the donkey as an animal that potentially faces “extinction” unless something is done soon.

Donkeys in Nigeria and across Africa are being stolen, or poached, at an alarming rate. The animals are slaughtered for their skins which are then used as a key ingredient to make ejiao (阿胶), a traditional Chinese medicine. And just as with more popular wildlife like rhinos, elephants, and lions, who are all hunted for their parts, there’s a vast criminal network behind the illicit Africa-Asia donkey skin trade.

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