Hola! We have just returned from the gorgeous island of Santa Cruz in Galapagos, Ecuador.
You may not know it, but we have a long history of working in Galapagos, holding our first campaign there in 2004. Our most recent campaign, funded through the generosity of Alley Cat Allies, was amazing in so many ways.
Together with our partners at Agencia de Regulation y Control de la Bioseguridad y Cuarantena para Galapagos (ABG), we achieved outstanding results and we are now on track to develop a 5-year, comprehensive plan to establish an island wide, community-based sterilization program for cats!!!
We were given a warm welcome to the island by ABG Director, Dr. Marilyn Cruz, who has been a true friend and partner of ours for the past 12 years. On our first day she gave us a presentation on the crucial work that ABG does every day to help protect the biodiversity on the island (with special thanks to our Board Member Dairne Ryan for translating just about everything for us over the week.)
Over the course of the six day clinic, we worked closely with the staff of ABG Santa Cruz to teach them humane, targeted trapping techniques. The trapping team was incredibly eager and quickly learned skills that will be crucial for them to continue the work of community-based sterilization on the island. Their presence in the neighborhoods helped spread the word about the project and we found that local residents were incredibly receptive to the idea of using community-based sterilization to help manage the cat population.
The ABG veterinarians were also able to participate in the clinic and had the opportunity to train in spay/neuter techniques with our Medical Director throughout the week.
One of our goals during our work in Santa Cruz over the years has been to encourage the construction of a clinic for ABG to use for spay/neuter and this year, thanks to everyone’s hard work and unwavering dedication to our goal, we were able to hold our “MASH” campaign within the walls of the NEW ABG clinic!! It was an emotional moment when we arrived and not only saw the results of our work, but were given the opportunity to work in the clinic (also, having a little bit of A/C when you’re working on the equator is pretty nice!) The clinic is beautiful and well equipped, providing ABG with a sustainable setup to carry out community-based sterilization projects. Of course, none of this would have been possible without our crazy, amazing, gorgeous, ninja-like team of volunteers who always jump at the chance to use their vacation time, pay their own way, travel halfway around the world and put in hours and hours of hard work to bring these campaigns to fruition. This team did not disappoint. They worked efficiently and skillfully to make the clinic run smoothly. The skill level of the team made it possible for our Directors to meet with ABG and Alley Cat Allies to discuss the future while maintaining confidence that everything in the clinic would run safely and go off without a hitch. The Galapagos Islands offer a stunning backdrop to work in, and the team had ample opportunity to explore the islands and experience first-hand the precious and diverse region that we are working os hard to protect. We want to extend our warmest and most heartfelt gratitude to everyone at ABG, Alley Cat Allies, our wonderful volunteers and everyone who helps us continue with our work and make amazing progress in protecting animals around the world. We decided that the tag for this campaign was #savingallspecies and this past week we were able to take huge steps towards doing just that.
We look forward to checking in with you from the next island.
The AB Team