Donkey population in Azerbaijan endangered
A news under the headline ‘5,000 donkeys disappeared in Azerbaijan over the past year’ was simultaneously released by several Azerbaijani media outlets three days ago. It was reported, among others, that ‘there were over 40,000 donkeys in Azerbaijan in 2015, whereas in 2016 this number dropped to 35,8thousand’- Qafqazinfo.az news agency reported with reference to the State Statistics Committee. As reported, donkey population in the country made 47,8thousand in 2008.
The news has been immediately caught up by social media users and ‘5,000 disappeared donkeys’ have become a new Azerbaijani Internet-meme. Here are some social media users’ comments:
“They haven’t disappeared, they have been used for doners (Turkish fast-food)’
‘They have been appointed for high posts’.
“They have been sold into slavery’.
Donkey population rates became particularly topical theme in Azerbaijani mass media three years ago, when the State Statistics Committee reported that Azerbaijan had spent AZN98,000 for procurement of imported donkeys (over US$125,000 at the exchange rate at that time).
Toghrul Veliyev, a reporter-economist, pointed to the discrepancy in the State Statistical Committee’ and Mass Media data: “Donkey import isn’t a big problem. According to the State Statistical Committee data, donkey population in Azerbaijan made 35,816 as of January 1, 2016 (those data were published in September 2016). According to the same data, the number of donkeys dropped by 3,433 in 2014 and by 4,176- in 2015. We haven’t imported a single donkey over the past 3 years, and the international data prove that. There are no publicly available data on donkey population as of January 1, 2017. So, where has that ‘5,000’ come from?” Veliyev specified that the matter concerned donkeys that are used in farming.