Where are we going next?
Animal Balance has over 14 years of experience working with island communities and within different cultures around the world. We make it a point to listen and learn before we make any suggestions for a plan of action. We respectfully work with our partners to create a program that works for their community. Our role is to bring existing resources together and to identify and provide what is missing. We ensure that this is sustainable, as we very quickly connect the local organizations with foundations that can support their work directly, then we move on to help the next island.
We approach humane population control in a targeted fashion, putting all of our efforts into assisting the most in need areas with free sterilization, parasite treatment and vaccination services.
Although we would like to be everywhere, all the time, we are limited in the number of campaigns that we can do each year. These are the islands that are currently on our calendar for campaigns for the remainder of 2017. With the continued support of our donors and partners, we would like to see this list grow in 2018. If you would like to see it grow as well, please consider making a donation today!
Animal Balance has been working with the communities, NGO's and humane societies on the Hawaiian Islands since the Oahu SPCA contacted us to introduce Zeuterin to their local community as a non-surgical sterilization options for male dogs on the island. Although Zeuterin was taken off the market in 2016, our work in Hawaii continued as interest in MASH surgical clinics gained momentum. Clinics on Maui, Hawaii and Molokai resulted in the successful sterilization of 881 owned dogs and cats, as well as giving the staff of the local humane societies the opportunity to train on effective MASH set-up and protocols.
Out targeted approach of studying intake data and focusing efforts on the areas that were producing the highest number of shelter intakes was tremendously successful. The Maui Humane Society was awarded a grant from Petsmart Charities to continue with the targeted work in 2016, and communities on both Maui and Molokai showed strong interest in continuing efforts to humanely control the feral cat population on those islands.
With key sponsorship from Alley Cat Allies, Animal Balance launched our Trapped in Paradise program (http://animalbalance.net/trapped-in-paradise/). The goal is to target the highest density areas of cats and systematically work with the caretakers to reach a minimum of 80% sterilization of the colony, with the ultimate goal of sterilizing 100% of the cats.
In 2017 we returned to Molokai, Hawaii and will be on Kauai in September to partner with the Kauai Humane Society, executing a MASH clinic for owned and community cats, as well as owned dogs. 200 humane traps and 250 transfer cages are on their way to the island right now!
We are continuing with fundraising efforts to expand our MASH and TNR program for Hawaii in 2018. Our teams will deploy to help the most at-risk populations of cats and dogs, offering spay/neuter assistance, as well as vaccinations, microchipping and parasite treatment.
Our Hawaii campaigns are a massive undertaking. It begins with the recruitment of two teams, a trapping team and a medical team. Ground support is provided by local NGO's. Clinics are held for 6 consecutive days and the teams work around the clock to trap, sterilize and return the cats.
Maui 2015 : 715 cats were trapped and sterilized in 6 days. 150 traps and 150 transfer cages were donated to Maui Humane Society.
Molokai 2015 & 2017 : 467 cats were sterilized in at Molokai Humane Society (which operates out of two refurbished shipping containers!) and 50 traps and 50 transfer cages were donated to Molokai Humane Society.
Hawaii (Big Island) 2017 : 685 cats sterilized in 5 days (clinic was held in an unused ice factory!) 50 traps and 50 transfer cages were donated to local TNRM group Hui Pono Holoholona.
Kauai 2017 : Our next campaign, scheduled for Sept. 18 - 23, partnering with Kauai Humane Society. Sterilization will be provided for trapped and owned cats, and owned dogs.
Prior to 2004 there was no an animal management program for cats and dogs on the Galapagos Islands. The authorities were randomly poisoning dogs and cats with Compound 1080 placed in meat and put on street corners by the trash collectors. This indiscriminate approach has the potential to harm all species who could ingest this substance and die, including children, who would often play in the sandy streets.
The Galapagos National Park Service and ABG are mandated to protect the biodiversity of these islands, while the Mayor of each Municipality is focused on increasing wealth, which often means they are at odds. Tensions were high between the community and authorities in 2003 and witnessing their community dogs dying slowly and painfully in the streets only compounded the situation.
Despite the poisonings, the cat and dog populations were flourishing and could potentially prey on the delicate native species that do not know to flee, or protect themselves, when a predator approaches. The native species needed protection and help, but the local people did not have the tools to allow them to take responsibility for their pets, in an effective way and the authorities were not aware of any other options.
A comprehensive humane animal management was needed to address the situation. We provided the strategy, funds, equipment, medicines and skilled medical personnel in 2004, collaborated with CIMEI (the former ABG) and the Galapagos National Park Service (PNG) and methodically targeted community after community until 80% of the cat and dog populations had been sterilized.
Phase 1 of the Galapagos Islands program (2003-2014) was to focus on each community on each island and work with them to understand the importance of spay/neuter and responsible animal ownership. As each community witnessed the benefits, they requested more sterilization clinics. This helped to create the social change that was needed in order to implement humane animal management program island-wide.
Phase 2 of the program (2014-2024) aims to maintain the existing program with ABG. To this effect, Animal Balance has signed a memorandum of understanding with ABG.
Phase 3 of the program was to introduce a comprehensive 5-year community based sterilization program for community cats, which was signed into effect in December 2016. To achieve this, 50 traps and 50 transfer cages have been sent to Santa Cruz ABG and also to San Cristobal ABG.
Phase 4 The DHPP vaccine was approved for import in March 2017. We will work with ABG vaccinate all dogs on the Galapagos Islands with the DHPP vaccine and sterilize the remaining in-tact dogs.
To read our full history on the Galapagos Islands click here.