Meet Eeyore the donkey who, at 54 years of age, is probably the oldest in the world.

The life expectancy of most donkeys is between 25 and 30 years, so Eeyore is around twice that.

And the grand old man is celebrating his latest birthday with his favourite diet of hay and carrots.

Owner Selwyn Demmy took in Eeyore earlier this month and discovered his two previous owners had him for over 50 years combined. Selwyn takes in homeless and under privileged animals at his Hunters Moon animal sanctuary in Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire.

Eeyore was once owned by a 20 year old girl who is now 72, thus proving that he is over 50 years old.

There's life in the old donkey yet: At 54, is Eeyore about to be hailed the oldest in the world?

By Daily Mail Reporter
24th January 2011
Daily Mail

Like his famous namesake, he's been around for donkey's years - but at the age of 54, Eeyore is being hailed as the oldest living donkey in the world.

The animal named after the gloomy Winnie the Pooh character has outlived other donkeys whose lifespan is usually 25-30 years.

But unlike the 1926 AA Milne creation which was renowned for its love of eating thistles and having the catchphrase 'Thanks for noticin' me' - Eeyore is celebrating his latest birthday with his favourite diet of hay and carrots.

Happy birthday! At 54, Eeyore is believed to be the oldest donkey in the world. He celebrated his birthday with a feast of carrots and hay

Owner Selwyn Demmy, took in Eeyore earlier this month and discovered his two previous owners had him for over 50 years combined. He was born in the year 1957 when the Frisbee was invented and the war movie Bridge on the River Kwai opened in UK cinemas.

Originally living with a family in Disley, Derbyshire. the beloved donkey was once tended to by a 20 year old girl who is now 72 - proving his age to be over 50.

Selwyn heard through his friend Trevor Seetree, 51, that Eeyore was lonely at his second residence, where he was for over 10 years, after his two best friends, llamas Freddie and Merlin, died.

The 78-year-old has taken in homeless and under privileged animals at his Hunters Moon animal sanctuary in Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire, for over 25 years.

He knew that all Eeyore needed was another companion, so he decided to introduce the donkey to his llama Buttons.

Thanks for noticin' me: Animal lover Selwyn Demmy with Eeyore and his two new friends, goats Andy and Pandy. They all live at Selwyn's Hunters Moon animal sactuary in Mottram St Andrew in Cheshire

They got on like a house on fire but sadly Buttons, who was 22, passed away just this week, so once again Eeyore was left on his own.

Selwyn, known locally as a real life Dr Dolittle, saw Eeyore looking lonely so sent his two goats, Andy and Pandy, to the rescue.

Eeyore, Andy and Pandy are now inseparable and Selwyn believes that his donkey could live longer than his new friends, too.

The retired bookmaking tycoon has been looking after hundreds of animals since moving into his eight-acre estate in 1983.

He said: 'I know Eeyore's over 50 because the previous owners had him for over 10 years, and the owners before them had him for over 40.

'When they first got him he was a few year's old then, so he's got to be at least 54.'

When Selwyn's friend Trevor heard that Eeyore needed re-housing due to losing his llama friends, he straight away agreed to take him in.

He said: 'Eeyore's owners and they said that he was lonely and suggested that Trevor bring him to me.

'Trevor assured the family that Eeyore would be happy with me and I had a llama that he could befriend in place of Freddie and Merlin.

'When Trevor went to get Eeyore from them he found out that a 72 year old lady used to feed him back when she was 20.

'I'm saying, and others are saying that he could well be not only the oldest donkey in the country but the world.

'We are currently doing more research to check that this is the case.'

As well as donkeys and llamas, Selwyn takes in all kinds of under-privileged animals so was keen to get Eeyore a new companion.

However Selwyn was devastated to find that Buttons had passed away on January 18, and was keen to get Eeyore acquainted with some of his other animals as soon as possible.

'It was such a shame when Buttons died. Eeyore has now lost three llamas.

'I saw him look longingly over at my two goats, Andy and Pandy, so I thought I'd introduce them properly.

'I'm really glad because when Freddie and Merlin died he was so upset, and then Buttons died so I wanted to make sure he wasn't on his own for too long.

'They all snuggle up together, talk to each other and interact with each other. I think only they understand each other though! He's a very friendly donkey.

'Straight away he took a liking to them and they bonded - it's like they've been best friends forever.' Neighbours often pop round to Selwyn's animal sanctuary with their children to see his animals.

He said: 'A lot of locals have come around by appointment to look at the animals. Eeyore is just like one that you'd find on Blackpool Sands, so all the kids love him.'

Despite his age, Eeyore still has his teeth, although they have come forward and grown out, which is common in older donkeys.

Selwyn has years of experience of looking after animals of all kinds and takes them on with the intention of either looking after them himself or re-housing them.

He said: 'I take on all under privileged animals here, despite what kind they are. I suppose it's the same principle as the RSPCA, but I'm not a charity - I do this on my own to help the animals.

'If for whatever reason I can't keep them, such as they don't get on with the other animals, I get them re-housed elsewhere. It's kind of like Dr Barnardo's for animals!

'I've done this since 1983, and reckon that there's 100s of animals that have come here over the years.

'I couldn't even count the amount of animals I have at any one time as it changes so quickly.'

Eeyore is in with a good chance of landing a record - according to Guinness World Records, the current oldest donkey in the world, named Suzy, was from New Mexico and died in 2002 aged 54.

A Blackpool donkey called Lively Laddie was said to have reached 62, although his age was never formally verified. He died in 2005.

Leslie Manger took Rosie the donkey in at Kenstud Pony Rescue, in Belper, Derbyshire, in 2006. That animal is also 54.