April 18, 2010

Dr. Cook reports success! Slideshow pics of Peru stray campaign!

Iquitos is a fascinating place and I have always loved it. The heat, the smells and the sounds are overwhelming but it is a colourful, lively and beautiful city. There are imposing buildings from a bygone era in various stages of decay. The river stretches away from the city shimmering in the sun, reflecting the cloud scattered sky. The people (apart from the odd red-faced tourist) are darkhaired, olive skinned and smiling. The expressions on the faces of newly arrived tourists and their shock at the poverty, housing conditions, level of education and treatment of animals is a reminder of my first impressions. I am still shocked by the heat, saddened by the poverty, and terrified of the traffic but I think my impressions of the city have softened. I find myself being defensive knowing how much things have changed in the three years I have been travelling here. Seeing the reduction in the number of street dogs, the general improvement in their welfare, the changing attitudes of the local people to animals and the knowledge that Amazon Cares has played a crucial role in this inspires me.

It has been an exciting couple of weeks for Amazon Cares. The campaign to neuter street dogs around Iquitos has continued and we neutered 95 animals in total. We worked in four locations around the city and in each attracted a large and interested crowd of spectators. We were filmed and photographed by local television, local newspapers and even the general public. It was an invaluable opportunity to educate the local people and I think we will see the benefits in future campaigns. The municipality worked tirelessly alongside us helping set up and catching dogs with Harry everyday and we are very grateful for their assistance.

Bruno, Anne and Florence had a very successful trip to Caballo Cocha and with an early morning wake up call from the town cryer at 6am announcing the days events they were able to vaccinate 100 animals against rabies, give parasite treatment to many more and neuter 13 animals.

Back in Iquitos, Ines and I had the unique opportunity to treat an orphaned manatee at the request of Daryl Richardson founder of the Dallas World Aquarium and of the Manatee Rescue Centre. Samiro is a 4 month old male manatee that was rescued in January weighing 14 kilograms and living in a small dug out canoe. He has a large harpoon gash to his back and damage to his flippers from struggling in the canoe. He is now, thanks to the diligence of the staff at the rescue centre, a healthier 20 kilograms and continues to gain weight as his wounds heal. He developed an ear infection two weeks ago and was not responding to antibiotics. With advice from Dr. David Murphy at Lowry Park Zoo we have been treating the ear topically for almost 10 days and there has been a significant reduction in the infection. It has been a rewarding and heartwarming experience to work with such a gentle and affectionate creature.

Easter was a lovely break for all in the middle of the campaign. We relaxed and had the opportunity to do some sightseeing. The city closed down and we saw a number of colourful parades in honour of the holiday. I had a little reminder of my childhood with an Easter egg hunt for the caretaker’s children at the Amazon Cares Jungle Shelter.

Once again it has been a very successful campaign both professionally and personally. It is a pleasure to work with enthusiastic and inspiring people and I am proud to work with an organisation that continues to do such worthwhile work.

Written by Dr. Annie Cook on April 14, 2010

1 comment:

  1. This is my first visit to the site, and I'm intrigued. Funny too, that you worked with the manatee there. I did manatee work for several years and worked with Dr. Murphy and Lowry for some time. Small world. Anyway, I can't wait to learn more about your efforts with strays! Keep up the great work.


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