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The Catalan Donkey: From a joke to a tradition

Did you ever wonder what represents the figure of a donkey that can be seen in some cars and walls on the streets of Barcelona?

The Catalan Donkey, know as the Ase Català or Ruc Català, is a native race of donkey from the Catalan province of Girona. Nowadays is endangered, reduced to only 400 specimens that can be found in Catalonia and the South of France.

File:Burro catalan-Llinars del valles.JPG

This sturdy race, black haired and big headed, is characterized by its high resistance and great strength. Their extinction from the Catalan rural areas is due to the introduction of modern heavy machinery that makes them unnecessary for agriculture and transport as them once were.

After several years without receiving any attention at all, Catalan donkey achieved great popularity unexpectedly in 2004 when two young men from the town of Banyoles, Jaume Sala and Àlex Ferreiro decided to create a sticker with the silhouette of this animal, initially for automobiles; with the aim, half seriously, half jokingly, to call attention to the danger that this race was experiencing and thus facilitate preservation.

The logo was made popular in Catalonia in the months that followed, reaching to appear in all kinds of stickers, shirts and other items.

donkey bull

Subsequently, the donkey unexpectedly became an emblem to the Catalan people since it has been considered to be protected. Currently the emblem of this Catalan Donkey is used by some people as a protest symbol for Catalan nationalism, as opposed to the Spanish Osborne bull. Political parties supporters of environmentalism sympathize with the symbol just because unveil the danger of extinction of these specimens.

Currently, the Catalan donkey is used in some tourist routes in inland towns of Catalonia, as a method of transport for tourists.

File:Rucs portant turistes a Santorí.JPG

If you see one of them on the streets, real or fake, share it with us! 😉