Tijuana’s painted donkey-zebras have some distant counsins – in a Gaza Strip zoo.
Here in Tijuana, visiting the famous donkey-zebras is a time-honored tradition for tourists to Tijuana’s Avenida Revolucion. You get the family and friends together around the painted donkey, don some sombreros and ponchos, and SNAP – a photo is taken. The city’s unofficial mascots were apparently painted with black strips as far back as the 1940s so that they could show up more clearly in the black-and-white photos.
Across the world, donkey-zebras are now appearing in the Marah Land Zoo, though in this case the painted stripes for educational purposes. The idea is to teach Palestinian kids about zebras. According to this Reuters story, the donkeys were painted with women’s hair dye using a paintbrush after it became clear that importing a real zebra would cost $40,000 or so.
Are Tijuana’s donkeys (the ones that are painted to look like zebras) really endangered?
That’s the question raised by an Associated Press story this week. These kinds of articles show up every so often when there is an uptick in drug-related violence, tourism goes down, and certain media groups start looking for a snazzy new angle. In fact, here’s another story just like it by Reuters from 2006.
I would venture to speculate this time around that there’s another reason for the downsized donkey business: The donkeys are competing against the Tijuana Cow Parade art exhibit that’s also on the tourist strip of Avenida Revolucion. The sculpture cows, after all, don’t charge for photos.
If the drug trade is scaring away business on Avenida Revolucion, don’t expect to get a break in the high seas either. Another story emerged this week about a submarine that was found off the coast of Mexico’s southern state of Oaxaca, with loads of cocaine. These kinds of subs are typically found off the coast of Colombia, according to news reports, but it looks like now they are migrating north like the whales.
Finally, remember Across the border’s July 1 post about the Tijuana bug at the border? U.S. media were abuzz this week about the Asian citrus phyllids’ potential theat to the California citrus industry while this blog celebrates its first “scoop.”
photo credit: RVforSaleGuide.com