Diamond Creek Moonwatcher is quite large by ass standards.

The $60,000 American mammoth donkey is the first of its kind to be imported toAustralia from the United States for at least two decades.

Shipped from Kentucky by Queensland mule breeder David Scholl, it hasn’t takenthe jack long to win over people in his adopted country

Even donkeys do quarantine

At 15 hands (152 centimetres) tall, Moonwatcher is considerably bigger thanthe average Australian donkey that would be expected to be 11 hands (111cm)tall.

This special donkey was required to do his time in quarantine because of therisk of exotic diseases such as equine influenza and equine metritis.

“Just like all horses, donkeys and mules that are imported into Australia,Moonwatcher had to spend 14 days in pre-export and 14 days in post-entryquarantine,” federal head of biosecurity Andrew Tongue said.

“Diamond Creek Moonwatcher met all of Australia’s strict biosecurityrequirements and is now expected to become the first of a line of robustdonkeys and mules in Australia.”

Even in quarantine, Moonwatcher won the hearts of his minders, according topost-entry quarantine facility assistant secretary Peter Finnin.

“He was a popular occupant, at least among the staff; he was very friendly andbecame really attached to the team,” he said.

Mr Finnin said the giant donkey had the “most incredible” bray that echoedthrough the quarantine facility and annoyed all the thoroughbred horses.

“The security guards on site were wondering what the hell was going on,” hesaid.

Robust riding mules

Shipped and cooled mammoth donkey semen can retail for as much as $US450($580), making Moonwatcher’s progeny highly sought after.

Mr Scholl, who is based near Biggenden, purchased him for his size and abilityto produce large, quality foals.

He said the abilities of mules — a donkey-horse crossbreed — wereunderestimated in Australia.

“They get flustered really fast, you have to teach them in baby steps, butonce a mule gets it they’ve got it for life,” Mr Scholl said.

“A mule can do absolutely anything a horse can do.

“Mules can live on 75 per cent of the diet of a horse, and a mule, kilo forkilo, is 25 per cent stronger than any horse of the same size.”

Source: ABC News

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