05 September 2007

The animals of Dean

My feet are back in the US, and we covered a lot of ground. My hat changed and I accompanied the Disaster Services Team of the Humane Society and Humane Society Int’l, we went to assess the situation of Dean’s path and its effects not only on the animals but on human health as well.

We spent some time in the town of Limones before heading to Xcalak and Mahahual. The road between them had been passable for a few days but had downed trees and electric poles. Xcalak had minimal damages, nothing compared to the destruction Mahahual endured. The evidence of the path was visible miles out; it makes you realize the severity of the surge. Crocodiles have been displaced as the water pulled them from the bay. Structures are gone or badly damaged and a good amount of the coral reef is on the beaches, horrifically loaded with trash.

It doesn’t resemble what we know of the town, but it is amazing how far they’ve come in just 2 weeks. The governor had finally arrived (on Sunday) bringing trucks and military to help clear the road. People are tired but they are positive and have pulled together as a community. They are living in tents and under lean-to’s and it was common to see their dog hanging around as well. The help coming in the way of food and supplies always warms my heart. We were able to bring over 1250 lbs of food down to the distribution center set up in Mahahual. Thank you Scott & Gary for helping us get it there!

For those of you who don’t know me, we do spay/neuter clinics here in Quintana Roo. Sterilizing is the only long term solution to an animal overpopulation problem. With the amount of animals roaming and surviving, populations will flourish and there is already evidence of packing in Mahahual. Understanding this is a human risk issue, I did get to experience one such meeting. It was a happy gathering as lone dogs realized others were out there, they found friends to frolic with!

HSI is hoping to secure funding for a 4 year program to include the communities of Limones, Mahahual and Xcalak. Our plan is to have a clinic sometime in Nov/Dec, help is always welcome in the ways of volunteers, supplies, food, accommodation, and of course contacts. We will have local vets attending and the municipality has already proven supportive of such programs.

We set up base in Chetumal, where there was more evidence in some places than others that Dean strolled in. One such place not so fortunate is what’s known as the Chetumal Zoo. We were thrilled to hear that they are more of a refuge, or sanctuary because their animals are rescued. I love to hear that! There is a lot of damage to their outdoor enclosures and all of the residents have been in their feeding and holding facilities. Large cats, primates and others wandering in their small cement cages has prompted HSI to secure immediate funding.


From Chetumal, we crossed the border to Belize City and a few area towns affected. We visited the Belize Humane Society and Animal Shelter, and a typical scene we see all too often. Limited resources, a surplus of dogs, minimal homes to be found and disease spreads quickly. Shelters need to have an adoption program for them to function, and HSI hopes to help them institute that. We will also help with putting together a spay/neuter campaign, I do love Belize!

Included in the assessment was the Sian Ka’an Biosphere and down to the quaint little fishing village of Punta Allen. We weren’t sure the road was going to be open so we ventured down finding it to take us the normal 1 ½ hours from Tulum. The road was washed in places but passable with care. The one sight that amazed us, after seeing the surge as far up as Akumal; the stretch of road that has natural mangroves looked virtually untouched. Leave it alone and it will survive, it was a very sad realization seeing what we’ve seen the last 4 days. Punta Allen was cleaning up the usual sand and debris, but it looked good overall. We did our first s/n clinic there last year and will plan on getting back again soon.

I took a lot of photos, not only of the properties. I’m sad to say they will have to wait another few days until I can get them from my “field” friends – I’ve had my camera taken, well, my sisters camera which is even worse!! I will share them soon.



whitney said...

Kelly, we have linked your work to www.helpafterdean.com
thank you for the work with the voiceless ones.


Travel RM said...

Kelly- I am so happy you were able to do all of this! Just amazing and the connections you are creating for help and funding. It is exciting and hopeful!
Kudos to you and the Humane Society Int'l... I will help you in any way I can!
Sherry Stevens/Playa

Anonymous said...

Hi Kelly thank you for doing such wonderful work to help the animals in Mexico.

I am Madi COllins from PAW of Caye Caulker Belize. I was referred to you by Sherry Steven and we emailed each other a few times.

What a frightening experience it was for me not to have a safe place to secure my animals with Dean and Felix. My animals were tramatized by the experience of putting them in anything I could have found to try and save them as the storm was approaching. I could not imagine what those poor animals went through in Mexico.

My situation here has not improved to where I would like it to be and the population of stray animals is increasing with little that I could do. I have try to set up with org. overseas to come do an spay/neuter camp but they always cancel last minute.

I was wondering if there is anyway you can connect me with Dr. Barry Klogg from HSI to see if he could help me in any way or perhaps have some recommendations. I really would like to help all the animals in need here but can only do so much.

It was really nice to read about your hard work. Keep up the good work! Please let me know if you can help me out.

You can access my website at: pawanimalsanctuarybelize.com

Thanks Kelly

Madi Collins said...

Hi Kelley thank you for helping the animals of Mexico, what wonderful work you are doing out there!

You may remember me from an organization named PAW from Caye Caulker, Belize, we communicated a few times via email. I was referred to you by Sherry Stevens from Playa.

Wow what a traumatic experience it was for me and my rescue animals to have two hurricane in a few weeks. It was a very scary time to say the least to figure out how & where I would have taken my animals to safety. It was very stressful for them to be place in anything I could have find from lack of cages, carriers etc. Then to make things worst, the wind was so powerful that a few of my kitty roofs, sidings and other things were blown away just after I had finally managed to get this so needed work done. There were also rooted trees and sanctuary fencing down, and lots of debris, and garbage brought in by the surge since we are located right on the edge of the beach.

But thank God we were all ok. I cannot start to imagine what those poor animals went through in Mexico and thank God that you guys are there to help.

My situation has not changed since I last wrote to you. Still trying to set up spay/neuter clinic but they seem to back off at the last minute. The over population of cats is exploding and I am so sad that I cannot do anything about it alone.

I was wondering if you can help me out by connecting me to Dr. Klogg from the HSI. Perhaps he can assist me in some way or refer me to someone who may can.

Thanks once again for caring for the animals in Mexico. Great Job!

You can now view my website at: www.pawanimalsanctuarybelize.com

Madi Collins
PAW Sanctuary & Humane Society
Caye Caulker, Belize


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