For most of us, travel for travel’s sake (considered non-essential travel) is on hold. This not only puts a damper on our own plans, it’s having a huge impact on animal welfare organizations that rely on people coming in from outside their borders to work as volunteers and to bring supplies.
Even though the influx of tourists has slowed to a trickle-if that, and you may not be able to volunteer in person, Animal-Kind International’s Partners and Grantees still need your help.
The COVID-19 Situation
On the Animal-Kind International website, www.animal-kind.org, we’re posting regular updates on our Partner Organization pages about the COVID-19 situation in our Partners’ countries.
Our animal welfare partners in Honduras, Uganda, Tanzania, and Armenia are keeping their shelters open for potential adopters, for animals in need of rescue, and for the few local volunteers still willing and able to leave their homes (although, for example, Honduras was on 24/7 curfew, no exceptions; that’s now been changed to a partial curfew).
Our animal welfare partner in Namibia is still treating emergency cases and instead of large community mobile spay/neuter clinics, they are accepting s/n clients one by one.
In Liberia, our partner has instituted strict safeguards for those coming to their vet clinic, the only vet clinic within at least a 9-hour drive (photo up, showing only the vet tech and a puppy in the Liberia Animal Welfare & Conservation Society clinic; human patients must remain outside).
In Jamaica, our partner is still traveling throughout Kingston every day to feed and care for street cats and dogs and continues to help low/no income families provide for their pets.
How is COVID-19 Affecting Animal Welfare Organizations?
We certainly don’t want to appear insensitive to the human suffering of COVID-19, but when crises are bad for people, they’re usually worse for animals.
During times of economic uncertainty such as this, we expect that charities will suffer. As often is the case, animal charities will likely be affected more than most others.
We support shelters in resource-poor countries, where they are seeing an influx of animals as expats leave (some are forced to leave behind their pets) and as people abandon pets because they can’t afford to feed them or because they wrongly believe their cats and dogs are carriers of the virus.
The community vet clinics we support (for dogs, cats, donkeys, horses, and any other animals in need) are getting more requests for help.
With the emotional stress of COVID-19, the clinics are treating more cruelty cases (some people take their frustration out on their pets).
Donkeys and horses are being put to the test; injuries are increasing as their workloads are increasing due to fears of economic collapse as people try to make money in whatever ways they can.
Requests for help for low/no income families’ pets are increasing as the economic situation gets more unpredictable (photo left, a few years ago, Mr. Salman adopted 3 dogs from Kingston Community Animal Welfare and now needs a little help to buy food for them).
We expect the biggest impacts to result from the slower pace of spay/neuter surgeries, which will mean more unwanted cats and dogs in the very near future.
All of our Partner Organizations are gearing up to address that challenge.
How Can You Help?
With so many countries closing their borders, what’s a traveler to do during this enforced quiet/down-time? Even during this crisis period, Animal-Kind International needs to keep raising money for our Partners-they rely on us for 33% to 100% of their operating costs.
This is a great time to help us raise money online!
Please check out our website, www.animal-kind.org. You can choose one of our Partners to fundraise for (10 to choose from), one of our Africa-Based Animal Welfare Organization Grantees (8 to choose from), or fundraise for which ever AKI-supported organizations have the greatest need (and we’ll divide up the funds).
- You can start a crowdfunding fundraiser. Get in touch, we’re happy to help with ideas (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Have a virtual fundraising event. I thought those went out of fashion several years ago, but it seems timely to bring them back. To remain safe and healthy, people just might contribute to not go to an event!
- Do you have a birthday or other celebratory event coming up? Celebrate online by holding a fundraiser. Facebook makes it easy: https://www.facebook.com/animalkindint/
- Start planning your travel now by choosing an AKI Partner or Grantee, get to know about their challenges and needs, and start raising money and gathering supplies for when you do get to travel again—that time will come!