6 Feb 2011

'Parasailing donkey' dies

10:28 am on 6 February 2011

A donkey that was forced to parasail above the beaches of southern Russia last July, has died of a heart attack.

A veterinarian said the heart attack was likely the result of stress brought on by the experience.

The female donkey named Anapka attracted the attention of police after beachgoers in the village of Golubitskaya saw a braying donkey soaring in the skies over the Sea of Azov on 9 July, 2010.

It was attached to a parachute pulled by a speedboat as an impromptu advertising campaign to attract beachgoers to indulge in parasailing.

"The donkey landed in an atrocious manner: it was dragged several metres along the water, after which the animal was pulled out half-alive onto the shore," the Taman newspaper said at the time.

Anapka died last month at a stables just outside Moscow. She arrived there in autumn.

Stable manager Yulia Dobrovolskaya said she began to refuse food and water.

"She got sick in December. She became very weak," said Ms Dobrovolskaya, who said that vets had to force-feed Anapka for more than a week before she died.

A veterinarian who examined the donkey said she was probably around 40 years old, but the most likely cause of death was a heart attack.

"An autopsy showed she died from myocardial infarction," said Ms Dobrovolskaya.

The stunt aroused a storm of protest from animal-rights activists.