Chaplin is our rescued Mule. Better to say that he came to us and stayed. His story is special; as he is a mule who only has three feet. He has lost his left hind foot when he was a foal. I was told that it has probably been cut off by barbed whires while he was in some fields and following his mother. His mother was a horse. They belonged to a family on Santa Rosa, who were some of the first Colonizers on the island. They are normal farmers who use their horses and donkeys as pack animals, and mules are especially bred for this. Chaplin was meant to become a pack animal.
When I first saw him from a distance, I felt a huge pain for him. This was in 2016, when Galapagos Horse Friends started. We could not really do anything for him, because we where a really small project and had a lot of horses already. Chaplin lived on pastures close to our farm at that tme, with his mother. We hardly never saw him, until his mother died. I was told, that she died of dehydration while she was ridden on hot lavafields by hunters who where catching feral goats and pigs. In the meantime, Chaplin has grown into a big boy and has adapted to his sad reality of missing one foot.
He came to us in August 2017. He must have rolled himself under the fence several times, because we had no idea how he came into our pastures. We did bring him back to his field, but the fact was that he wanted to be with our herd and his owner threw him out; he was useless and unwanted. Our herd accepted him as the last member of our pack, so he stayed. From this time onwards, his loneliness came to an end. He became the favorite of many of our volunteers, as he is an animal with special needs.
But, he is not castrated yet and we have had some bigger problems with him on the farm, especially when our mares did get in heat. Being a mule, he is a hybrid and cannot reproduce, but he knows that he is a stallion. We had to separate Chaplin from the herd and brought him to my land, where he has his own stable, water and food. For one year he had been alone there, with no other bigger animal around, which was not really the best for him. But, since the end of January he has company; another injured gelding named Orfeu.
Now, Chaplin has become a lovely and friendly mule who enjoys his portion of balance food every day. Orfeu is dominant to him, which helps Chaplin to behave. He became part of my pack of rescued animals and I am happy that Chaplin is doing so well. He is maybe the happiest mule on the Galapagos Islands, because he has never been used as a pack animal. Chaplin deserves the best like all our horses do, if you would like to become his caregiver, please contact us and follow his story.