Famous donkey gets cash for 30th

The Bol Park donkeys live on the southern side of the creek by the Bol Park Bike Path. Post photo by Dave Price.

This story appeared in the May, 24 print edition of the Daily Post. If you want to know what’s happening in Palo Alto, pick up a copy of the Daily Post at 1,000 locations.

Daily Post Staff Writer

Palo Alto City Council is pitching in $10,000 to celebrate the 30th birthday of Perry, a Barron Park donkey who was the model for “Donkey” in the movie Shrek.

Perry has lived in Barron Park since 1997, and his birthday will be celebrated in Bol Park on June 9 from 1 to 3 p.m., said Jenny Kiratli, lead handler for the Baron Park Donkey Project.

Mayor Greer Stone announced the grant on Monday.

“Perry unfortunately has developed several age-related conditions,” he said.

Councilman Greg Tanaka objected to spending city money on the donkeys, even though he said he appreciates the community they bring to Palo Alto.

“It seems irresponsible in my opinion,” Tanaka said.

Council has $77,000 left in a “contingency fund,” and the money can’t be spent after July 1, Stone said. 

The last time the city gave money to the donkeys was a $15,000 grant in 2016, Stone said.

This year’s grant will be matched by the Barron Park Donkey Project, which operates under the umbrella of the nonprofit Palo Alto Humane Society.

Perry is one of three donkeys in Barron Park.

Buddy, 24, arrived from Woodside in 2020. 

April, 15, came last spring from Salinas with a chronic hoof disease, Stone said.

Expenses are usually about $25,000 annually, but non-basic medical care cost another $15,000 last year, Stone said.

Stone said he used to take his classes to see the donkeys when he taught at Gunn High School.

“The students just absolutely adored them. It’s a great opportunity for wellbeing in the community to be able to interact with these wonderful animals,” Stone said.

Donkeys in Barron Park date back to the 1950s, when Cornelius Bol added donkeys to his farm that later became Bol Park.

The Barron Park Donkey Project began in the 1990s after four volunteers helped care for the donkeys when the Bol family was no longer able.

The donkeys can be visited during daylight hours near 3590 Laguna Ave. Volunteers walk the donkeys to Bol Park on Sundays from 10 to 11 a.m. and feed them at the gate at 5 p.m.

Most donkeys eat straw, hay, and grass, but these donkeys only eat grass pellets because Perry has bad teeth.

Perry was the model for the donkey in Shrek in 2001

The company Pacific Data Images came to visit the pasture and took many pictures of Perry to learn about what donkeys look like and how they move, according to the Donkey Project’s website. 

The company donated only $75 to the pasture, and Perry was not mentioned in the credits, the Donkey Project said.

Perry, short for Pericles, was donated in 1997 by a Woodside equestrian who kept the donkey around her thoroughbreds as a calming companion.

Donkeys can live to be 25 to 30 years old in the wild and into their 40s if they are cared for by people, according to the Donkey Project’s FAQ page.

Council’s $125,000 contingency fund is set aside for smaller projects that may come up throughout the year.

Expenses are approved by the mayor and vice mayor if they’re under $10,000, and by the full council if the request is over that amount.

In the past, the fund has been spent on employee retirement parties, road signs, town hall meetings, documentary screenings and hygiene packs for the homeless.


  1. I’d rather see the money spent this way than the multi-millions of dollars wasted on the “dinosaur garden” at the Junior Museum and Zoo and the $855.000 five-year contract to belatedly fix the JMZ’s pathetic reservation system that no one with any common sense bothered to test.

    No surprise that attendance is down and they’re AGAIN hoping to hike entrance fees for what used to be free and heavily used.

  2. What a group of asses! And I’m not referring to the donkeys in Bol Park. I’m talking about the jackasses at 250 Hamilton.

  3. With all of the awful things we’re doing to this planet and the creatures that lives among us I love the fact that one of them is getting his due. Good on you Perry. I’m sure if DreamWorks was ponying up (pun intended) the donkeys would live on in Bol Park for all of our benefit.

    “The company donated only $75 …” Shame on them. Shrek made $500 million.

Comments are closed.