The donkey has been a working animal for at least 5000 years. Based on a report in 2021, more than 40 million donkeys in the world, about 96% located in developing countries, where donkeys played as human labor;
Due to the rapid urbanization in China for the past 30 years, 70% of young people have moved to the city to work and live. Thus, the elderly has been left behind in the countryside and on farms for a living.
Donkeys are their lifelong labor tools; cheap and easy to raise, smallholder farms raise over 70% of donkeys in China. However, the usage rate of donkeys is declining rapidly. For instance, ten years ago, I visited a small village in Shanxi, North part of China, and I saw donkeys, horses, cows, and mules everywhere working in the field, but the condition has hardly disappeared nowadays. Therefore, it is quite a changeling issue to find these elderly farmers still using donkeys. Now the number of donkeys in China is declining at a rate of 4.8M each year, and maybe soon, we will only be able to visit them in a zoo.