Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.-- James A. Froude (1818-1894)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

UPDATE from SPCA - Pulau Ketam rescue

A skeletal dog looking for food :(

I'd like to share this email update from SPCA :

Day 1: Rescue & Relief @ Pulau Selat Kering
The team consisting of Animal Inspectors Cunera, Murugan, Kennel worker Manimaran, Vet Dr Goh and Save A Stray founder Jacqueline Tsang left at 7.30am from Klang towards Pulau Ketam. The team brought along water cans, 15kg bags of dog food, cages, nets, graspers and leashes. Members of the media followed on a separate boat.

(full story at http://www.spca.org.my/)

Let these photos tell the story ...

Day 2: Another Day At The Swamps
Friday, 8th May 2009
Uncle Danny very kindly offered to drive our whole team of volunteers and staff to Pulau Selat Kering today on his boat. After some initial problems with the steering (and our anchor snapping off!), we were off to survey the area again and rescue more dogs. The team consisted of SPCA Committee member E-Ching, staff Cunera, Murugan, Sugen, Shahrul, Jacinta, and volunteers Lynette, Jorg, and vet Dr Lynette. We had packed food and cannisters of clean water for the dogs, cages, a dog trap, insect repellant, ropes, knives, and rubber boots.

Disembarking from the boat onto the Pulau Selat Kering mangroves was a big challenge, and we swung ourselves off the boat and dropped knee-deep into the mud immediately. Movement was difficult and dangerous, as the mangroves roots kept tripping us, and we kept slipping and sliding deep into the mud. Dr Lynette and E-Ching hacked away at the branches and tried to make 'bridges' so everyone could walk on the branches and avoid getting stuck in the mud.

Making a temporary bridge to prevent volunteers from sliding into the mud while crossing over from the boat -->

Part of the team set up the dog trap, and laid out batches of food on PVC sheets around the only landing area (where the dogs had been abandoned initially). Some walked 20-30 metres deeper into the mangroves, placing smaller bags of dog food on planks. We could hear dogs, but we couldn't get near them. Kuning (a dog adopted by the kelong workers) appeared, and his antics calmed our nerves, and helped us relax a little – even though we were acutely aware that we were in a very risky situation.

Several dogs could be seen peeping from behind the trees, but none ventured any closer to the food. The whole team then got into the boat and moved to the kelong (fish-farm) 15-20 metres away. 7-10 dogs came out to the shoreline, and started drinking the water we have placed and eating the food, looking at us warily from time to time.

Thirsty dog (Liberty) drinking from a container of fresh water we just put down -->

We bumped into Marjorie and Karin from KKB at the kelong, who had hatched the brilliant idea of building a floating platform! They worked quickly to build it with the wood and tools they had brought, and attached food and water bowls to it. The platform will entice dogs onto it to eat, and prevent the food from being washed away during the high-tide.

The trap malfunctioned, and we couldn't catch any dogs. We got into the boat and moved 100-metres down the side of the island, making 3 stops to place food and water. We could hear dogs barking in the distance. Later on, we unloaded 6 bags of food onto the kelong, and paid the kelong workers to feed the dogs until we came again.

The whole team left covered in mud, with cuts and bruises, and with heavy hearts. Over lunch, we brainstormed on how we could carry out our rescue and relief more effectively and quickly.

We concluded that having too many people around frightened the dogs, and slowed down everyones movement. During the next rescue and relief, we hope to build more platforms and use meat to entice the dogs. We also need to have our traps fixed, so they release the trap door easily.

Day 3 : Platforms, Fried Meat and The Big Plan
Sunday, 10th May 2009

Murugan and volunteers Jorg and Moses hired a boat and travelled to Pulau Selat Kering at 3pm. They brought along some recycled shelving, wooden planks and rope. The night before, E-ching and Moses had specially prepared fried chicken meat and liver, as well as fried mutton to bait the traps. We had a plan.

After building two platforms among the mangroves where dogs could rest and feed comfortably, Jorg, Murugan and one of the kelong workers ventured in a smaller boat into an inlet during the high-tide. To their shock and delight, they found what looked to be an old, abandoned house 200-300 metres into the mangrove. This provided a platform for the dogs to rest on during high-tide, and they brought back a dog trap and set it up there. One of the workers got so excited when he saw a dog swimming nearby, and he jumped in and tried to catch it. Unfortunately, the dog swam quickly to the land, and ran away.

Loading our dog trap onto the boat, and transporting it to a platform in the mangroves -->

Murugan stayed overnight to monitor the movement of the dogs and watch the dog trap, while the volunteers returned home. We hope the traps work, we're keeping our fingers crossed!

Day 4: Gloomy Monday? No way! 8 dogs rescued today!
Monday, 11th May 2009

Day 5: Three more dogs saved!
Wednesday, 13th May 2009

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