Staff at the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary are mourning the loss of one of their popular members.

Bruno, who had been at the sanctuary since 1990, passed away at 4 pm yesterday afternoon (Tuesday) after a number of unsuccessful operations.

The outreach and adoption had two operations last week after an apparent abscess revealed an infection and significant problems with the blood supply to his hoof.

His condition worsened and a further surgical procedure was carried out yesterday, but Bruno’s condition was too serious and vets were unable to save him. The vet, Tim, is said to be “emotionally shattered” after trying to save Bruno.

According to the sanctuary, Bruno was well known for his fear of drains, and would never step over a drain if there was an alternative route he could follow – even if it meant a long detour. In fact, there were special ‘Bruno routes’ at the sanctuary, where he could move from paddock to paddock without fear of crossing any.

Staff at the sanctuary in Wroxall say Bruno had been adopted by many people:

“He was kind and gentle, loved being cuddled and adored attention! He was one of our outreach donkeys who regularly visited people who were ill and he brought a smile to their faces.

His social life was legendary, and in recent months he had enjoyed visits all around the island – including, at the Needles, meeting their staff and talking to Santa Claus!”


For his last 5 years, Bruno lived with his outreach friends – Belle, Busby, Daisy and Blossom. He’s said to have been “instantly recognisable”, with his beautiful brown coat and white nose.