Five thousand years ago the donkey was domesticated. The last wild specimens are very rare and extremely endangered. The Basel Zoo coordinates the European breeding programme for Somali wild donkeys. Especially around the Mediterranean, the donkey was indispensable as a workhorse, but now it has had its day. In Cyprus there are hundreds of old donkeys that are no longer needed in agriculture. In the Donkey Sanctuary they find asylum and are lovingly cared for until the end of their lives. If a new task is not found for the house donkey, there is a danger that not only individual breeds will die out, but that soon there will be no donkeys at all. The motto is preservation through use. An organic farm in Italy with eight hundred donkeys of different breeds produces milk, cosmetics from donkey milk and meat in a closed cycle. The dung ends up in the fields, where barley is grown, which serves as fodder and straw. Donkeys can accompany trekkings, pull carriages or be used as mounts for children. They are also good therapists. In the Saxerriet prison they help prisoners to improve their social relationship skills.