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Tijuana leaders are launching an effort to save the tradition of the burro-zebras of Avenida Revolución that tourists have posed with for nearly 100 years. Tourism has declined so much that the burro-zebra cart operations no longer are profitable, the donkey handlers say.
El Mexicano reported on Thursday that in years past, a photographer could make $50 a day taking pictures of tourists sitting on the donkey-zebra carts. It said that some days now, the photographers don't even make one sale.
Tijuana's chief archivist, Gabriel Rivera, said he wanted to make Tijuana residents more aware of the issue, particularly since 2014 will mark the 100th anniversary of the burro-zebra. The paper said Rivera, at a news conference Tuesday at City Hall, said the tradition of the donkey painted as a zebra began as a tourist attraction on Avenida Revolución in 1914, and then was transferred to the Agua Caliente casino, where the cart was added. The burro-zebra then returned to Avenida Revolución in the 1940s.
Jorge Bonillas, a leader of Avenida Revolución burro-zebra photographers, said the animals were originally painted so that they would show up better in the black-and-white photographs of the day.
Rivera suggested that the photographers receive some form of subsidy to keep the tradition going. The organization Uni2 is suggesting an "Adopt a Burro-Zebra" program.
Uni2 President Roberto Lango was quoted as saying by Frontera: "The city will turn 125 years old next year, and the burro 100, what better way to show how Tijuana has grown than the burro — the burro is going to tell the history of Tijuana."