At the easternmost end of the Karpaz Peninsula, beyond Dipkarpaz, hundreds of wild donkeys roam free. Though seemingly native to the region, their wild status goes no further back than the Turkish invasion of 1974 when, thousands of domestic donkeys, the mainstay of peasant agriculture on the island, were abandoned. The new administration of the north herded them together and let them loose on the Karpaz Peninsula, whose covering of marquis was felt to be ideal for their sustenance. The donkeys, however, preferred the more succulent crops being grown by local farmers, and made a thorough nuisance of themselves, even jumping fences to get at the crops. Understandably angry, the farmers put pressure on the authorities to do something about them, but a proposal to relocate the animals to mainland Turkey caused a storm of environmental and animal-rights protest. So the donkeys remain, and the farmers take what measures they can to keep them out. Perhaps five hundred to a thousand feral donkeys survive here, and visitors are advised to treat them with respect – they have a notoriously bad temper.

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