Hilo, Hawaii – The Animal Balance team is just wrapping up a 5-day campaign on the Big Island. We have been in Hilo all week, spaying and neutering as many cats as possible, raising awareness of the immense need for continued services on the island, and networking with the amazing members of the local community who came out in droves to support our work.
We landed in Hilo with the intention (and supplies) to sterilize about 500 cats. As the week progressed, it became clear that this team was capable of easily surpassing that number, with 3 highly skilled surgeons and an incredibly strong medical team behind them doing all of the prep and recovery work. After a mid-week order for more supplies, the team ultimately performed 683 spay/neuter surgeries in just 4 ½ days.
The cats, it seems, were coming in from just about everywhere. Not only did our trapping team do an outstanding job trapping the feral colonies in local parks, marinas and neighborhoods, but the response fromlocal residents was greater than we ever could imagine. Each morning there were people waiting when the clinic team arrived at 7 am. On most days, the clinic reached or exceeded capacity by 8:30 am.
Surgery began right away early every day, and the team worked tirelessly until 5, 6, sometimes 7 pm. Had they not run out of critical anesthetic drugs, they would have been impossible to stop. They truly wanted to sterilize as many cats as possible and make the greatest impact that they could in the time that they were here.
We know that the work has just begun on Hawaii. It will take the combined efforts of many, many people to bring a sustainable, humane management solution for cats on island. We are filled with gratitude that we were able to be a part of this amazing work and look forward to supporting continued efforts on the island in any way that we can.
We thank Alley Cat Allies for funding our work and the local rescue groups Hui Pono Holoholona, Rainbow Friends and Hawaii Island Humane Society for being such an integral part of this project. This campaign would not have been possible without their support.
We were not only welcomed with open arms by the County of Hawaii and Mayor Harry Kim, but they also generously covered the cost of our hotel rooms.
As our team packs up and boards flights back to their homes across the country and around the world, we all have new friends, great memories and a true connection to this amazing island and the amazing people and cats that we met this week.