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Page last updated at 16:02 GMT, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 17:02 UK

Donkey campaign unites Cypriots

Wild Cyprus donkeys in the Karpas Peninsula
The Karpas wild donkeys are seen as a symbol of Cyprus

Greek and Turkish Cypriots have teamed up on their divided island to save endangered wild donkeys.

The initiative was launched on the social networking website Facebook after 10 of the donkeys were found shot dead at the end of March.

"Let's stop the massacre of Karpas donkeys!" says a message from the group, which has attracted more than 2,000 members.

The Karpas Peninsula in northern Cyprus is home to several hundred donkeys.

The Facebook group says the Karpas donkeys "are the symbol of Cyprus and it is our responsibility to protect them".

The messages, in both Greek and Turkish, are a new gesture of unity on the island, whose communities remain divided by a UN-patrolled buffer zone. The breakaway self-styled Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is recognised only by Turkey.

A group of Greek and Turkish Cypriots rallied on a beach in the Karpas Peninsula on 13 April to "Save the Cyprus Donkey".

The Karpas donkeys are a legacy of the 1974 Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus, when Greek Cypriot farmers fled the area, leaving their animals behind, the AFP news agency reports.




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