Tourists urged to avoid riding donkeys up Santorini's steep steps

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Equines

Tourists urged to avoid riding donkeys up Santorini's steep steps

2 April 2019
News
Greek island’s famous donkeys found to have spinal injuries, saddle sores and exhaustion

Put yourself in their hooves: that is the message holidaymakers will be asked to consider before deciding to ascend the 600 steps that zigzag up the cliffs of Santorini on the back of a donkey.

After several summers of the fabled isle’s equine population being forced to bear the brunt of overweight tourists, activists, in collaboration with the cruise-line industry, have finally taken action. The result is an unprecedented initiative to sensitise travellers to the stress placed on the animals when compelled to make the vertiginous climb with perilously heavy human cargo.

“The campaign is about to start,” said Nikos Zorzos, the island’s mayor speaking from Fira, Santorini’s clifftop capital. “Representatives from the cruise liner association were here in my office this week promising to raise awareness [of the problem] and from our side we’ll be distributing information leaflets. Our mules and donkeys are part of our tradition. Younger owners, especially, have understood that they need to be looked after.”