Our team in Indonesia on a mission to help domestic animals
At the end of 2010 a small team from International Animal Rescue in Indonesia set up a new project called the Domestic Animal Rescue Mission IAR (DARM IAR). The mission of the team is to rescue sick and injured dogs and cats from Loa, a nearby village, give them medical treatment, neuter them and then return them to their owners. The path through the village is frequently used by IAR team members on their way up the mountain to monitor and release lorises. They regularly encounter large numbers of adult dogs with puppies in the village, some in very poor condition, and this prompted them to set up the new project.
The team rescued the first dog (later named Scratchy) on 12 December 2010. His owner claimed that the dog had previously been poisoned. He was suffering from a very bad skin condition and was extremely thin. Scratchy was brought back to the IAR rescue centre at Ciapus for medical treatment.
The second rescue mission was carried out on 19 December. A database was set up of some of the animals in Loa. The team interviewed owners about their pets and explained the sterilisation programme that was being offered to them. IAR Indonesia was introduced to them and the main objectives behind the rescue and rehabilitation of primates were highlighted.
A total of 24 dogs were entered into the database. This was done by taking photographs of the dogs, recognising markings and identifying their owners. The team was given verbal approval from the owners for all 24 dogs to be neutered. They were also given the go ahead to neuter 10 cats. During the visit two cats were surrendered to the IAR team, one with an open wound on its flank and another with severe respiratory problems.
Both cats were taken back to the IAR centre for treatment and their conditions improved very quickly. When they had recovered the cats were neutered and returned to their owners on 26 December. Both the cats were returned in good condition.
The latest update from 30 December is that Scratchy's condition has improved. He has put on some weight and is eating very well. Although he is still bald in many areas, fine hair is now visible showing a good sign of fur growth. Scratchy is much more alert and is becoming quite playful.
The objective of DARM IAR is to visit the village every Sunday at about 11am to collect animals that owners want neutered and treat those that are unwell. Sunday was chosen as the day for visiting as most villagers are on leave that day and are home at that time. Compared to previous visits, the team was able to interview far more people than on a working day.
In future, the aim is to take in more dogs per rescue to maximise each visit. This will only be possible with more cages and more resources allocated to the project at the clinic. The team also intends to monitor animals that were previously neutered to see that they make a full recovery from the surgery. The possibility of obtaining some form of sponsorship for the project is also being investigated by members of the team.
There are also future plans to bring in the IAR education team to increase awareness of local wildlife, particularly lorises. Currently there seems to be very little awareness among the Loa villagers of the existence of lorises, let alone of their endangered status.
The team carrying out the visits consists of veterinarian Sharmini Paramasivam, researcher Richard Moore, Mastur Jakaria, Firman Taufik and Barnas dan Bobby Muhidin.