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About Lamu Animal Welfare Clinic

“I can’t bear the thought of pain, the helplessness and desperation that comes with physical and mental suffering of any kind!”

The Lamu Animal Welfare Clinic was established in September 2004 as a Charity Trust, following a holiday spent on Lamu by Richarde Traeger, a French National and Promoter Trustee of the clinic. She had never seen so many cats in one place! On the beach, in the villages, at the back of the dunes, in and on the edge of town – they were everywhere! Probably thousands of them… Not a problem if it wouldn’t have been for the sad condition of many of them.

Overcome with heat when they couldn’t find a place in the shade, they were laying in the dust infested with fleas and worms. In villages some cats belong to households but most of them are stray cats. Since there is little food available for a plethora of animals; either fish or offal given by the fishermen, leftovers from households or mice and rats, many grow weak and emaciated becoming vulnerable to all sort of diseases with many showing physical deformities. Not to mention the females which are getting pregnant over and over again.

Determined to contribute to the efforts of the Kenya Society for the Protection & Care of Animals (KSPCA) which had already run vaccination and neutering campaigns on the islands Richarde set-up the clinic with two like minded friends; Aisha Khan, the former Executive Officer of KSPCA Coast in Mombasa and Nick de Souza, a Senior Veterinary Consultant with the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPCA).

Originally, the clinic project was to primarily undertake a neutering programme and provide treatment to the sick cats. However and since there was no veterinary surgeon on the whole archipelago, the project extended its work over the years to care for all kind of animals; farms dogs, cattle, pets owned by international residents and more ‘exotic’ animals such as camels, monkeys, turtles, parrots etc… (The numerous donkeys have their own Donkey Sanctuary.)

After a short break in 2007 the Clinic was reopened in February 2008 then again sadly had to close in November 2009 after funds dried out. Thankfully in early 2010 a fundraising campaign initiated by two friends of Lamu and fervent supporters, filmmakers Dominic and Casilda Cunningham-Reid saved the project allowing it to reopen the following March.

The Trust employs a veterinary surgeon in charge of running the clinic and overseeing all its activities and in normal times when funding allows a second veterinarian on a temporary basis concentrating on the charity work and notably the neutering programme thus offering an opportunity to a new graduate to gain experience in veterinary surgery.

The current vet in charge is Dr. James Muyaga, a qualified veterinarian from the University of Nairobi assisted in his tasks by Justus K. Baya assistant vet/trapper and John Delmus Ziro, trapper.

We are working in a very challenging environment; climate, cultural beliefs and approach to animal care and welfare. Neutering and caring for stray animals is purely charity work draining most of our resources. However, tremendous and worthwhile progress has been made over time measured by the increasing number of Lamuans using the clinic’s services. For the younger ones, the project has initiated an educational programme (School Children Animal Welfare Awareness – SCAWA – read more in ‘PROMOTING KINDNESS TO ANIMALS), to sensitise children on the need to care and respect animals, the purpose they fill in our lives and in the environment. The returns of this initiative have been very encouraging.

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