Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Since donkeys were first domesticated about six thousand years ago, they have been very important in human economies. Egyptian tombs of Dynasty IV (ca. 2675 to 2565 B.C.) indicate that ownership of donkeys was a status symbol, and the elite of society may have owned herds of over a thousand head. Donkeys played a very important role in developing long-distance trade in Egypt, because of their weight-bearing capacity and their adaptation for desert travel. In ancient Egypt, female donkeys were kept as dairy animals. Donkey milk is higher in sugar and protein than cow's milk. The milk was also used for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. Donkey meat was eaten as food by many people. There were domesticated donkeys in Europe by the second millenium B.C. and the first donkeys came to the New World with Christopher Columbus in 1495. Donkeys were introduced to the United States with Mexican explorers. Many of the wild donkeys in the southwestern United States are descendants of escaped or abandoned burros brought by Mexican explorers during the Gold Rush. Throughout history donkeys have been invaluable as beasts of burden. Even today, donkeys are of great economic importance especially in remote areas. They are being used extensively in efforts to boost the economy and alleviate poverty in poorer areas of the world. Miniature donkeys are very popular as companion animals and for show. Mammoth stock are still used as draft animals in small farming businesses around the world.
Positive Impacts: food ; body parts are source of valuable material
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