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Donkeys to help rare flowers grow again in Devon’s pastures

Picture: The Donkey Sanctuary

Donkeys are being used to help re-establish one of Britain’s rarest flowers.

The beast of burden will be encouraged to trample over specially seeded plots of land.


More than 20,000 seeds of the endangered small-flowered catchfly have been sown on Devon farmland.

The donkeys will then tread them in.

Ruth Angell, the ecology and conservation manager at the Donkey Sanctuary, said:

“Increasing biodiversity is essential for an enriched and resilient environment which can support rare species as well as our resident herds of donkeys.

“It is important to us that our donkeys benefit from different types of activities and experiences.

“Our donkeys will be able to enjoy a walk with our grooms and benefit from one-to-one time while they walk over the plots.”

The sowing is part of the Colour in the Margins project run by the Plantlife charity.

Cath Shellswell at Plantlife said:

“We’re incredibly grateful to partners like the Donkey Sanctuary who are helping these fantastically rare wild flowers come back from the brink of extinction by giving them a helping hand in one of their original regional strongholds.

“We look forward to seeing small-flowered catchfly return and working with the sanctuary to ensure this tiny plant has a thriving future.”



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