Who We Are
For many years, dedicated volunteers have worked tirelessly to improve the well-being of Hydra’s animals. Our primary goal has been the development of a healthy, balanced population among the island’s much loved cat community through a program of feeding, vaccination, and regular TNR (trap, neuter, release) sessions.
With the great help of dedicated vets from Greece, Sweden, and Italy, and with enormous support from Nine Lives and Animal Action in Athens and the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust in Geneva, we have organized semiannual TNR programs. Through Animal Action, we also organize an annual visit from a team of equine vets and farriers, who provide free checkups, as well as dental and hoof care, for our island’s working equines.
Volunteers who live on the island work year-round to feed Hydra’s cats, monitor their health, and provide or find treatment for them when needed. Our efforts would not be possible without generous donations from animal-loving visitors to Hydra.
Our greatest reward is hearing visitors who return to the island tell us that where once they found blind, starving, sickly cats doomed to suffering and an early death, they now see healthy, vital animals. We still have a long way to go but with your help, this will happen.
Our special appreciation goes to the mayor and the Municipality for their continued support for our programs.
What We Do
HydraArk strives to maintain a balanced population among the island’s much-loved cat community with regular TNR sessions. We bring licensed vets to the island for three-day sessions to spay and neuter, as well as provide treatment for parasites, various illnesses and infections, wounds, gingivitis, and skin cancer (among white cats who lack pigment and sustain constant sunburn to their ears and noses).
Vaccination & Treatment
Systematic vaccination reduces the transmission of such illnesses as cat flu, feline leukemia, and FIV. This, in conjunction with a balanced population level and regular, year-round nutrition, assists us in our goal of maintaining a healthy cat community on Hydra.
Feeding & Colonization
A long-term HydraArk goal is the establishment of supervised cat colonies around the island. Members of a functioning colony will come around regularly for food, which will in turn make it that much easier to recognize individual cats and monitor the population for signs of illness. This also simplifies trapping eligible cats for neutering, vaccination, and treatment. Volunteers regularly feed and monitor colonies of perhaps 10 to 15 cats.
HydraArk also actively seeks homes for the island’s cats. If you live outside Greece and are interested in adopting a cat or kitten, please contact us.
Hydra Island, happily, has few homeless dogs, and those we do encounter, we are typically able to rehome quickly.
Metoxi, however, across from Hydra on the Peloponnese, is now part of the Hydra municipality and home to a number of street dogs and puppies. Hydriots operating the boat service between Metoxi and Hydra have been looking after these animals, and HydraArk has teamed with the Friends of Animals Society, Ermionida (FASE) to have them spayed or neutered and to have any puppies vaccinated.
We encourage anyone interested in an international adoption to contact us so that we can help organize the process.
Among all Greek islands, Hydra’s speciality is the strict ban of vehicles: cars and motorbikes are prohibited. This characteristic makes of Hydra a unique environment where the presence of working animals is central to the life and activities of the residents and to tourism.
Donkeys, mules and horses carry all sort of goods. When visitors arrive during the tourist season, they might get the impression that donkeys are there to transport luggage and provide leisurely rides around town. In reality, equines on Hydra work very hard all day long, transporting everything from refrigerators and mattresses to bricks, stones, lumber, and other heavy building materials.
Farriery, Dental Treatment, Health care
HydraArk brings an equine vet and farrier from Animal Action to the island every year to provide three days of complementary health care, dental treatment, and hoof trimming for Hydra’s working horses, mules, and donkeys. In October 2014, the team provided checkups for more than 130 equines.
Hydra Mule & Donkey Conference
HydraArk has worked with Ed Emery to host the annual Hydra Mule and Donkey Conference, which brings a fine range of speakers, covering all aspects of mule and donkey culture. In 2014, the conference took place at the Melina Mercouri Hall from October 10 to 12, and included discussions on the tradition of the working equine, looking at current conditions, changes, and the future of the profession.