The Responsible Pet Ownership project was one of five environmental outreach activities completed by the Tourism Development Company (TDC) in order to maintain the Las Cuevas beach facility’s Blue Flag status. The TDC is responsible for meeting and maintaining strict Blue Flag certification criteria including the control of the stray animal population on its Blue Flag beach.
One hundred and seventy-three (173) pets belonging to residents of Las Cuevas and Maracas received free veterinary treatment during the final of a four-part community intervention – “Humane Stray Animal Control through Spay and Neuter Intervention and Responsible Pet Ownership” program, which was facilitated by Asclepius Green and supported by the Tourism Development Company (TDC) from June 3-5, 2016 at the Maracas Community Centre.
The clinic was officially opened on Friday, June 3, 2016 with a small ceremony attended by Adrian Winter – Personal Advisor to the Minister of Tourism; Hayden Straker – Manager, Niche Markets at the TDC; other members of staff from the Ministry of Tourism and the TDC; Joanna Moses-Wothke, Blue Flag National Coordinator; Aljoscha Wothke and Keith William Gibson, directors of Asclepius Green; members of the Animal Welfare Network and Animals 360 Foundation; and staff and students of the Las Cuevas RC School. For the event, the Maracas Community Centre was transformed into a field veterinary clinic run by Dr Raymond Deonanan and a dedicated veterinary team of passionate volunteers. The clinic opened daily from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm and of the 173 animals seen, 102 were spayed/neutered. In total, the team volunteered over 900 hours of free work to the project.
Other community outreach initiatives undertaken as part of the “Humane Stray Animal Control through Spay and Neuter Intervention and Responsible Pet Ownership” program included an interactive school outreach session at the Las Cuevas RC School; a community outreach event on responsible pet ownership and tourism; and a community walkabout to raise awareness, provide basic medical care to pets and pre-register pet owners for a free spay and neuter field clinic.
Speaking at the launch on behalf of Keith Chin – TDC’s CEO, Hayden Straker stated that the focus of the intervention was to “minimize the impact of stray animals to the health of the community and visitors to our beach facilities, which will in turn increase visitor satisfaction.”
Asclepius Green is the local NGO responsible for the coordination of the Blue Flag program in Trinidad and Tobago and is proud to work with the TDC towards fulfilling the NGO’s mantra: “Healthy, happy animals – healthy, happy communities.”
Trinidad & Tobago is located in the southeastern region of the Caribbean. With its careful approach to tourism, the dual-island nation offers a distinct blend of culture, eclectic cuisine and an assortment of eco-adventure activities. Trinidad, the ‘cultural capital of the Caribbean,’ is home to the world famous Carnival and the birthplace of the steel pan, the only new musical instrument to be invented in the 20th century. It is also home to one of the world’s top three nesting sites for endangered leatherback turtles and world class fine flavored cocoa. Tobago, sister island to Trinidad, is the quintessential Caribbean paradise with secluded beaches, quaint villages, private villas and award-winning eco-attractions that include the Main Ridge Rainforest, the oldest protected reserve in the western hemisphere and the six-time award winner for World’s Leading Ecotourism Destination by the World Travel Awards.
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