A brighter future for cats in Turkey
In response to several reports from concerned supporters about the huge numbers of cats colonising parts of Kalkan, a tourist resort on the south coast of Turkey, IAR commenced a pilot sterilisation project in November 2001.
Tapestry Holidays, one of the main tour operators for the region, had also received complaints and offered to help support this and future projects in both Turkey and Greece. When we contacted the Mayor of Kalkan he was delighted that we were taking a problem off his hands. He offered us an operating room and two cars with drivers to transport the animals there from the town.
After a few problems getting the necessary veterinary drugs into Turkey, we arranged to work with a local group we knew - The Fethiye Friends of Animals Association (FFAA) - founded by Perihan Agnelli. We first met Perihan at a conference in Istanbul. The FFAA supplied all the equipment and drugs that we needed. Accommodation and flights were kindly organised by one of our long-term supporters, Sarah Hope-Walker. The Mayor provided us with a new building for our operating room right opposite the hotel.
The team began the trapping and collection of cats. Many of the cats were so tame they simply followed food into the cages and did not require ’trapping’. After two days, trapping became necessary as the collection of cats became more difficult. The ones left were very wary of the cages. We concentrated our efforts on the central part of Kalkan in and around the harbour.
All our patients were treated with flea spray, wormed and had their ear mites treated. They were also ear-tipped for future identification. We also managed to save the life of a small kitten that was in very bad condition and would probably have died. We gave her a full ’animal MOT’ and homed her with two charming people, Elaine and Suliman who live in Kalkan.
International Animal Rescue has now forged strong links with Perihan Agnelli of Fethiye and we hope to work closely in the future. Together we hope to smooth the way for UK vets to work in Turkey without confrontation from local vets and secure permission to purchase all the drugs necessary to sterilise animals in the future. IAR have been able to facilitate a substantial donation to the sterilisation team FFAA to purchase a purpose-built mobile clinic that will travel from town to town to sterilise cats and dogs. We will be able to use the mobile clinic for two or three weeks a year on return visits to sterilise cats. In the interim periods FFAA will work to get control of the stray dog problem. This project began in the week following our departure when the FFAA sterilised 40 dogs in the harbour area of Kalkan. This was extremely well received by the Mayor and the entire IAR team.
Tapestry Holidays have agreed to fund the flights and accommodation of another eight-member team to visit Greece later this year. Sarah Hope-Walker has confirmed that she will pay for the drugs for this next trip.
IAR supporters collected over £2000 in Kalkan, and this money was invested in dog and cat food distributed by local volunteers during the winter. Special thanks to Hafize Trustlove for translating our leaflets into Turkish and making arrangements with the Mayor! Special thanks to Tapestry Holidays for supplying the coach to transfer us to and from the airport.