by Alan Kennedy
2020 was a tough year for mankind throughout the world.
For many wild animals the reduction of human activity was a great benefit, allowing their natural habitats some respite from pollution and destruction. The homeless animals of Kuşadası, however, were among the innocent victims of a manmade disaster, as they depend mostly on human kindness and discarded food for their survival.
In March, because of the increasing Covid 19 death rate, the Turkish Government, in common with most others, imposed a strict curfew and lockdown. Schools, restaurants, cafes, bars and many other businesses were closed, people largely confined to their homes and tourism halted. Suddenly the street animals had no source of food. In response to appeals by the national and local governments, ARK undertook to feed the animals that had hitherto been almost entirely dependent on those lost provisions for their existence. Initially we were supported by other local organisations and an allocation of 15 x 15kg bags of dog food and 15 of cat food from the Kaymakamlık (District Governor’s Office). We believed what we were told: that things would return to normal after a few weeks.
We lost our income from our second-hand shop of more than 1,000 tl per week and were unable to hold any social events which would normally raise an average of 1,000tl per month, and prices increased rapidly. The population of the animal shelter, which is supported by ARK volunteers, rose sharply. Fortunately, more volunteers joined our working teams, our donors responded magnificently to our needs and the local employees of a digital giant organisation recruited more members to support our cause by earning donations from their employer for their unpaid voluntary work in the community.
During the year more than 1,400 animals were treated by our vets at a cost of 214,000tl and our volunteers distributed food costing 87,000tl. We were fortunate in being able to find homes, mainly local and some foreign, for many of the animals we helped – thank you to the kind people who adopted them, may they bring you much love and pleasure. We established close bonds and good working relationships with Chantal at Bird Island Farm and Claire and Ibo at Lilly’s Place who have all given much-needed love, shelter and care to some of our most needy, and Hakan at Hunters’ House, who has collected some of our adoptees, and sheltered, treated, prepared and transported them to their new UK families. Sadly both his and Chantal’s efforts to send animals to the UK have been halted by the virus, putting a huge strain on their resources.
We’ve also continued our good relationships with the Local Authorities, both the Mayor’s and the District Governor’s offices, frequently communicate with them and meet their representatives. Our total expenditure on the welfare of homeless Kuşadası animals was 336,468tl for the year compared with 279,586tl in 2019, an increase of 66,882tl or 23.9%.This was made possible only by the hard and stressful work of our team and the support of our small but generous band of donors. Thank you all.
If you would like to ensure that we can continue with our life-saving work, please visit https://animalrescuekusadasi.org/help/donations
You can also help at no cost to yourself and save money at the same time when you shop online at over 2,000 retailers, utility companies, travel agents and insurance companies –https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/anreskusadasi/…