A large part of our work at IWCT involves the delivery of free spay and neuter clinics around the Philippines. As awareness of our charity grows, we have increasingly received requests for programs in more isolated areas of the Philippines. One such request came from Bayas Island, a tiny island completely powered by generators and solar energy.
Although taking our team to these areas is more costly, they also have the potential to create a great impact. If we can spay and neuter the majority of dogs and cats on the island, this can stop rampant population growth. In addition, we can combine this with effective vaccination programs, particularly against rabies.
We found that the pet population on Bayas was healthy and well taken care of, they merely lacked the experience to effectively spay and neuter large numbers of animals. Indeed, this was the first time an organisation has held such an event on the island.
Our Spay and Neuter campaign is so important as a means of humanely controlling the dog and cat populations of the Philippines. Through these programs, we can reduce the number of animals on the streets and improve the health of those that remain.
Alongside our clinics, we also aim to provide education in order to help change attitudes and behaviours towards animals in general, otherwise our neutering can have limited impact on animal welfare. As such, on Bayas island, we held an education campaign with 500 youth attendees from both primary and secondary school. We were happy to see that the children were extremely receptive and understanding.
The next day we headed to Longinot Island which was a challenge to get to as we arrived at low tide which meant the team had to walk a kilometre over sharp corals! We saw fewer dogs on this island because the Coronavirus lockdown hit Manila. The team had to rush to the airport to reorganise their flights so as not to be stuck on the islands!
Thankfully, the lockdown is now easing in the Philippines and we are excited to get started with our clinics again! Unfortunately, due to the aftermath of the pandemic, it is very unlikely we will be able to do any more island clinics for the remainder of 2020. Instead, we will focus on more local sites where there is still lots to be done!