Earlier this year, Australian literary agent Margaret Gee travelled to Ladakh, in north-east India, to volunteer with the U.S Snow Leopard Conservancy. She returned home to Sydney just before the COVID19 outbreak, feeling lucky to have seen the elusive and endangered big cat.
But Mrs Gee had more than snow leopards on her mind. During her stay in the Ladakhi capital of Leh, she came across stray dogs, living outdoors in the freezing winter temperatures.
The animal welfare situation in Ladakh – as in other parts of the world – has become considerably worse because of the COVID-19 crisis, as hotels and restaurants, the usual sources of food for street animals, are largely closed. The shipment of goods to Ladakh in winter months is also difficult due to road closures.
Mrs Gee contacted Vets Beyond Borders to find out how she could help and was delighted to learn about VBB’s involvement in the Animal Birth Control and Anti-Rabies program in Ladakh – a collaboration between VBB and Ladakhi government authorities, supported by long time VBB sponsor, Fondation Brigitte Bardot. The program was established to reduce the incidence of rabies in humans and animals by vaccination of animals and humane reduction in the street dog population by surgical sterilisation.
As well as performing vital clinical work, VBB volunteers promote awareness of the responsibilities of dog ownership, reduced fear of dogs and an understanding of how to behave around street dogs to lessen the risk of dog bite injury and rabies infection.
“There are some truly remarkable and dedicated local people throughout Asia who do everything they can to help stray animals, and often with the most limited of support and resources,” said Mrs Gee. “Thank you VBB for everything that you do!”
Thank you, Mrs Gee, for your support and contribution to Vets Beyond Borders and for pledging to donate again in the future. With your help, we can continue to provide veterinary care to Ladakhi animals in need.
We look forward to deploying volunteers to Ladakh again, once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. To find out more about what we do and how you can help, please visit www.vetsbeyondborders.org