Reflective stickers for New Forest donkeys in bid to save them from road accidents

Appeal to drivers to slow down

Published Monday 8 December 2014

The owner of a snowy white donkey knocked down and killed in Brockenhurst, New Forest, is putting reflective stickers on her animals in an appeal to drivers to slow down.

Jo-Jo was one of 16 donkeys owned by Rob and Genette Byford who - along with ponies, cattle, sheep and pigs - roam free across the New Forest. The distinctive female foal had been used in a drive safe event at Brockenhurst College earlier this year to encourage students to be aware of animals on the road.

She was killed by a driver at Sway Road on 26 November and her frantic mother Doll had to be rounded up to stop her from running into the path of other cars. Sadly another of Genette’s donkeys was also hit yesterday evening (7 December) at Sway Road and ran off.

Now Genette, with another New Forest commoner, is trialling reflective stickers attached to Doll and some of her other animals to try to make them even more visible. Special glue is used to attach the stickers to the hair but more research is needed to find a reflective material that will remain in place for longer.

Genette said Jo-Jo had become famous among residents and visitors since she was born in May and many people had taken photos of her and posted them on social media.

The jenny foal was killed in NovemberShe said: ‘We gave Jo-Jo to our two-year-old grandson Sam and I know people don’t go out to kill or injure them on purpose but it is barbaric. I’ve had a number of donkeys and ponies run over and it is heart-breaking every time. People just don’t think about the animals being there.

‘If they are knocked over people should call someone straight away so they can either be saved or put out of their misery. We do have reflective collars on most of our animals but I don’t put them on the babies because when they grow the collars get too tight.’

Around 70 animals are killed every year. A wide number of agencies work together to reduce animal accidents with initiatives such as police speed enforcement, changing warning road signs to keep drivers’ attention, hotline cards and ‘I go slow for ponies’ window stickers.

Some people have called for the 40mph speed limit to be lowered further across the Forest. However Nigel Matthews, Head of Recreation Management at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘Sadly this donkey was killed in a 30mph zone within a village and in any case animals can be killed or injured at 30mph or lower speeds.

‘The majority of accidents involve local people, many of whom become complacent as they go about their daily business. We are again appealing to drivers to be more careful. We should all drive knowing that there might be an animal on the road ahead. They have the road sense of a two year old so if one is standing beside the road, drivers should be ready to stop in case it steps into the road at the last minute.’

Animals have right of way on New Forest roads, as their free grazing activity helps shape the iconic landscape we know and love today. About 600 commoners own the thousands of animals roaming freely in the national park, exercising special rights granted in the 13th Century attached to their properties.

  • To find out more about what is being done to reduce animal accidents, visit http://ow.ly/FxlTu
  • Drivers involved in an accident are asked to call the police on 999 if it’s an emergency or 101 if it’s not an emergency.

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Photo captions:

  • New Forest Commoner Genette Byford of Brockenhurst with daughter Yasmin Cook and grandson Sam Cook with Doll the donkey wearing a reflective badge. Doll’s distinctive white foal Jo-Jo was killed by a driver.
  • Jo-Jo and Doll in Brockenhurst this summer.


Notes to Editor:

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper


The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect.
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more.

Media Contacts:

Hilary Makin, Communications Manager, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646608
Email: hilary.makin@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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