Sep 5, 2018

Trinidad Campaign Report


 Charlieville, Trinidad – 

The Animal Balance team has just wrapped up five days of MASH spay/neuter clinics in the towns of Barrackpore and Charlieville, on the gorgeous island of Trinidad. This was AB’s first trip to the island, part of the dual island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, and the first large scale spay/neuter project on the island. 

Trinindad, while considered to be part of the Caribbean, lies just seven miles off the coast of Venezuela. It is both rich in cultural and bio diversity, hosting a wide range of fauna that is similar to what can be found on the South American continent. With species such as leatherback sea turtles, red howler monkeys, green iguanas, and 400 species of birds, calling Trinidad home, maintaining the balance of cats and dogs on the island is crucial.  Trinidad has a human population of just under 1.3 million and has a land area of 1,833 square miles.

The campaign was held in partnership with local animal welfare group, Animals 360, and our dear friend, AB veterinarian and board member, Dr. Raymond Deonanan. Dr. Raymond was even so kind as to host three days of the campaign at his home in Charlieville. 

The campaign has been a dream of both Dr. Raymond and AB Executive Director, Emma Clifford, since the pair met and became fast friends in 2012. Dr. Raymond has helped with many AB campaigns in other countries, and we were thrilled to finally be able to help him on his own island. 

The first two days of the campaign were held at a community building in the town of Barrackpore, on the southern end of the island. Animal Balance was joined by volunteers from Animals 360, who assisted with registration, health checks, and discharge, as well as three technicians who work with Dr. Raymond in his mobile veterinary practice. Together, the teams successfully sterilized 129 cats and dogs on the first two days of the campaign. Animals 360 took appointments for the surgeries, which allowed some control over the flow of the surgery day. The team quickly noticed, especially the surgeons (!!), that there were many more female animals than males. This is great news in terms of controlling the population, as fixing the female animals definitely reduces the risk of accidental litters and makes a huge impact on humane population control efforts. 

We enjoyed the opportunity to interact with local residents and were graciously thanked for providing services that they have been in need of for some time. 

After two days off, spent exploring a local nature reserve, checking out some of the local beaches, and doing some shopping at the amazing Indian bazaars around Charlieville, the team got back to work, setting up a clinic on the ground floor of Dr. Raymond’s house, where the team was also lucky enough to stay for the week. 

During the three days in Charlieville, the team once again saw a majority of female cats and dogs, sterilizing another 200 animals. The turnout and support from the community was incredible. We saw many people come to drop off their animals for surgery and then end up staying for the rest of the day to assist the team in whatever way they could. 

Overall, the Animal Balance volunteer team of 13 people, along with volunteers from the local community, successfully sterilized 329 cats and dogs in 5 days. Each dog and cat was also given anti-parasite medication and dogs were given a DHPP vaccination. Most importantly, however, were the connections that were made to lay the groundwork for ongoing return campaigns to Trinidad on an annual basis to continue with this important, lifesaving work. 

Animal Balance looks forward to continuing to provide the communities in Trinidad with humane population management solutions for their cats and dogs. 

Mar 5, 2018

Next Galapagos Vaccination and Sterilization Campaign Confirmed for May 2018!

Animal Balance is thrilled to confirm that we will be returning to the Galapagos Islands in May 2018 to continue work sterilizing and vaccinating cats and dogs on the archipelago. The team will be returning to San Cristobal for a week-long campaign, following a successful sterilization and vaccination campaign there last fall, during which 386 cats and dogs were sterilized, and hundreds of dogs were vaccinated.This campaign was held in cooperation with Agencia de Regulacion y Control de la Bioseguridad para Galapagos (ABG), the local authorities on biosecurity for the Galapagos.

After San Cristobal, the team will travel to the more remote island of Isabela for another week-long campaign. This will be the first time for Animal Balance returning to Isabela since 2014, and the first time that the canine DHLPP vaccine will be offered to dogs on this island. 

Animal Balance has partnered with ABG to build sustainable programs to humanely manage cat and dog populations on the islands. By maintaining the balance of these species, other species on the islands including sealions, tortoises, blue footed boobies, and many others, are allowed to flourish.

The progress that is being made on the Galapagos will now also serve as a model for Animal Balance, so that we can prove to other islands around the world that spay/neuter and vaccinations help to humanely manage and maintain a healthy cat and dog population, which contributes to the overall health of other wildlife on the islands. This project in particular provides us with an ideal example of how to incorporate local authorities and the community in order to get them to embrace solutions and ignite social change from within. 

We are grateful to everyone who has supported, and continues to support, our efforts to show the world that killing one species in order to protect another is not the solution. The Galapagos Islands have always shown us that many species can coexist and we are honored to be able to continue this work in such an amazing environment. 

Volunteer Pam with one of our patients.
Volunteer Pam with one of our patients.
Our work helps protect these guys!
Our work helps protect these guys!

Links:

Dec 6, 2017

Galapagos Sterilization & Vaccination Campaign

Canine patient on San Cristobal.
Canine patient on San Cristobal.

The Animal Balance team arrived in Santa Cruz, Galapagos on Ocotber 28th to begin a two-week vaccination and sterilization campaign, in partnership with Agencia de Regulación y Control de la Bioseguridad para Galápagos ( ABG), the lcoal agency tasked with managing all biodiversity on the Galapagos islands.

Although Animal Balance has been working on the Galapagos for 14 years, this campaign was significant in the fact that it is the first in which we have been allowed to provide vaccinations for dogs, protecting them against distemper, parvo, leptospirosis and other preventable diseases. This is a huge landmark in social change for the communities on the Galapagos, who over the years have shifted their view of how to humanely manage cat and dog populations from using poison to control street animals, to adopting ideas of including animals as part of the family. Animal Balance has played a pivotal role in igniting this movement and we are so proud of the communities for making this change happen. We are incredibly grateful to all of our dedicated volunteers, 14 of whom travelled thousands of miles, generously donating their time and travel expenses to participate in this project, and to all of our donors who provide the resources to make this campaign happen.

The campaign ran from October 28 through November 12, focusing efforts on the two most populated islands of the Galapagos, Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. Animal Balance sterilized 386 cats and dogs, and as part of their treatments, all dogs were given a DHLPP vaccination. ABG provided vaccinations to hundreds more dogs that did not need to be sterilized. 

It was obvious from the first day that there was a great deal of community support for this project. Turnout was high at the clinics on both of the islands, and the teams worked long days to ensure that we provided care for as many animals as possible. 

Project Highlights : 

- "Max" Cardena was the first dog vaccinated on the Galapagos Islands. ABG's Dra. Lisette smiled after giving the vaccine, as everyone gathered around cheered at what we hope will mean the end of dogs suffering from preventable diseases like parvo, distemper and leptospirosis. 

- "Nana Iris" is an older dog that was brought in by a good samaritan, after he saw her wander into the street and get hit by a car. Not only was Iris vaccinated thanks to the vaccines purchased through our campaign, but our veterinarians were able to address several medical concerns for her, and our team was able to find this older dog an amazign home with a local friend of ours. 

Our Saturday Neighborhood Clinic was held at a local soccer court on Santa Cruz, ensuring that vaccines were accessible to those who did not have the ability to bring their dogs to the clinic during the week. 128 dogs were vaccinated that day and the AB team worked with the ABG team to share some low-stress dog handling skills. Everyone had a great time getting to know the community and their dogs. 

We did outreach in costume! Halloween fell in the middle of our clinic, so we capitalized on the opportunity to don costumes while spreading the word about our clinic. We quickly realized that our outrageous costumes were great icebreakers with the people, especially when we foudn language barriers challenging. There were lots of smiles, and we saw a lot of people arrive at the clinic as a result of passing out flyers in town. 

Groundwork was laid to continue this project with another campaign in the spring of 2018, tentatively set to serve the islands of San Cristobal and Isabela, where residents have less access to vet care than the busier island of Santa Cruz.

Overall, this campaign was incredibly successful, and demonstrates continued improvement in the quality of life for animals on the Galapagos Islands. The cooperation displayed between the local authorities, Animal Balance, and the community provides a superb model on how to ignite social change. Through the support we receive from our GlobalGiving Campaign, we will be able to continue to do this life-saving work and save more animals around the world. 

First dog vaccinated on the Galapagos!
First dog vaccinated on the Galapagos!
A young girl with her puppy, Santa Cruz.
A young girl with her puppy, Santa Cruz.
Outreach in costume on Halloween.
Outreach in costume on Halloween.
Big turnout for our Saturday clinic.
Big turnout for our Saturday clinic.
Puppies at the clinic for vaccines, Santa Cruz.
Puppies at the clinic for vaccines, Santa Cruz.

Links:

 
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