KONA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - A young Kona donkey died on Saturday afternoon after being hit by an apparent stray bullet near her pasture, according to the Kona Historical Society.
The donkey, whose name is Mele, was a "treasured companion" for an older 31-year-old donkey named Charlie on the Kona Coffee Living History farm site. Mele was involved in several parts of the Kona Historical Society's school and site programming.
In March of last year, the historical society held a voting contest to pick Mele's name after a two-year campaign to find and train a baby donkey to be Charlie's companion, as well as interact with children in events.
Charlie was not harmed in the incident and is currently being monitored closely by staff for his health.
"Our primary concern in the aftermath of this horrible incident is the health of Charlie and our animals," said Joy Holland, executive director of the Kona Historical Society.
The circumstances surrounding the donkey's fatal incident is still being investigated. KHS officials say that they will notify the public when they find a new companion for Charlie.
"Mele was a beloved member of our museum ohana and she will be deeply missed by our staff, volunteers, visitors, and friends," said Kona Coffee Living History Farm site manager, Gavin Miculka.
"To celebrate the role she played in our living history and museum programs, the Kona Coffee Living History Farm will be hosting a free public day soon to honor her," Miculka said.