Public Health, Animal Welfare & Biodiversity: Cats and dogs have been our companions for thousands of years. The links bewteen us are strong, but we must recognize that living with these animals have consequences for our environment, constituting one of the greatest threats to biodiversity; between the two species, they have contributed significantly to the extinction of 44 species of birds and they constitute a serious threat to another 188 species in danger of extinction; including mammals, reptiles and frogs.
The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is home to more than 600 species of birds; 35% of the bird biodiversity of Colombia. Santa Marta contains the highest concentration of 36 endemic species of birds found on the planet and maintains exceptional levels of animal diversity.
According to the Secretary of Health, there are more than 55,000 dogs and cats in Santa Marta and the surrounding areas. In just seven years, a dog can have more than 4,000 descendants and a cat, more than 420,000. With a high abandonment rate, street animals are in poor condition. The need for public intervention is urgent, however, there is no veterinary presence or public program in Minca and sidewalks, apart from us, to control or treat the animal population.
In our Foundation, we love cats and dogs and we appreciate the wonders that nature has created. Therefore, we believe that our pets must be sterilized, reducing the negative impact they cause on our environment. Along with the sterilization campaigns, we try to create environmental awareness about the importance of a topic so familiar and at the same time fundamental for ecosystem wellbeing.
Since 2011, we have organized 39 days of sterilization in the towns of Taganga and Minca, sterilizing a total of 1,506 dogs and cats, 70% of which were abandoned.
We have also provided medical treatments to more than 1,200 animals and conducted an average of 4 periodic annual disease control campaigns, as well as led 9 educational campaigns in local schools on the welfare of pets, responsible care and preservation of the local species.
Among our objectives are:
- Sterilize at least 500 animals per year.
- Offer monthly sterilization and health clinics for abandoned animals
- Present educational sessions on responsible animal care
- Obtain and maintain a veterinary first aid kit to be used in the community
- Add a permanent veterinarian to our work team.
- Increase the quality of life of the inhabitants and promote the welfare of the animals.