The mystery behind the donkeys on Stallings Island

Andy Colbert is the owner of Outdoor Augusta and knows how to find them.
Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 6:42 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Stallings Island, just off Stevens Creek, is a land no human can step on.

Wild donkeys live there, but the good news is that they are friendly.

How did they get there? We got in a kayak to find out more. Andy Colbert is the owner of Outdoor Augusta and knows how to find them.

“Sometimes you’ll have to just keep paddling around the island, and you know, the more noise you make, you bring some carrots out here with you, they definitely know that people come out to feed them,” he said.

He leads tours to Stallings Island through Outdoor Augusta. Colbert’s been paddling out here for nearly 25 years.

He says if you keep making noise the donkeys will come.

Joey Lipovich is visiting Stallings Island for the first time. He said, “It’s really cool, it took us a while to find the donkeys, but eventually, they showed up.”

Lipovich and his wife are from Pennsylvania. They’re visiting the area and seeing this for the first time.

“Never seen donkeys in the wild, certainly never seen them on an island in the middle of a river,” he said.

Why are there donkeys on an island in the middle of a river?

“The animals were brought here in order to keep the vegetation down on the island,” said Colbert.

Colbert says Stallings Island has a lot of history.

“The civilization that was found out here was dated to about 2600 B.C.E.,” he said.

Some of the oldest known pottery in North America was found here. The Archaeological Conservancy owns the island.

“If they ever wanted to come back out here and do another excavation, they just want it to be left in the same conditions that they left it in originally,” said Colbert.

That’s why the donkeys are snacking on grass, and anything kayakers brings them. It is illegal to step foot on the island, but Colbert says the donkeys should come up to your boat.