2015 was a big year, with lots of action and ideas for how to help Hydra’s animals! We held TNR sessions, worked to build awareness in the community, continued and expanded our winter feeding program, held the annual equine vet visit, and much, much more.
Cat Care: Neuterings
Over the last four years HydraArk has managed to significantly reduce the overpopulation of the island’s cats and improve their overall health. Our animal welfare organization has achieved this through an annual program of spaying and neutering. Specifically, over 400 cats have been sterilized, over 100 have been vaccinated and given antiparasite treatment, and over 15 have been adopted. The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust, based in Switzerland, funds most of the sterilization program for cats and subsidizes the fee for the veterinary surgeon. In October 2015 the project was financed by Help Animals International. The re- maining costs are entirely covered by HydraArk, whose members volunteer to man the clinic throughout the three-day neutering sessions.
In May 2015, a veterinary nurse brought by HydraArk made visits to our island’s schools and foreign- language centers. The program aims to educate young students about issues related to stray animals and es- pecially to cultivate a culture that values animal welfare.
Also, in July 2015 HydraArk placed makeshift dispens- ers with plastic bags for picking up dog droppings in four places on the island, with posters asking people to clean up after their dogs.
Winter Food & Care
We must thank our generous supporters for their donation of much-needed funds to feed Hydra’s cats from November to April, when there are fewer visitors to the island and cats have a harder time finding food. We try to distribute the food to the island’s different neighborhoods to keep the cats in all of them healthy.
This year, we have added Vlichos to the list of areas where we have volunteers distrib- uting food during the winter. We also bought and distributed medicines for certain conditions and antiparasite treatments, which has improved the health of many cats.
Equine Health Checks
Each year, in collaboration with Animal Action, HydraArk organizes an annual visit from the equine action group, which includes a veteri- narian, dentist, and farrier. They come to the island for three days to screen for dental and other health problems. In October 2015 the group examined more than 90 horses, mules, and donkeys. The doctors stressed the necessi- ty of the annual examinations to avoid and prevent any disease, especially colic, which can be lethal.
Shade & Water Troughs for Equines
HydraArk has been working to organize installation of canopies for shade for equines in the port, construction near the harbor of two drinking troughs for the equines, renova- tion of an old traditional cart for display in one of our squares, and designation of a permanent space for the organization. The City Council, at its meeting on 01.29.16, postponed the debate about the shade canopies and refused to grant the old radar building as a permanent housing space, but promised to look for another suitable loca- tion. Finally, the council agreed to the construction of two drinking troughs and the restoration of the cart. HydraArk thanks the City Council for this and hopes to work to- gether toward solutions for other issues in the future.
Objectives & Actions
For 2016 HydraArk aims to implement two programs of neutering in April and November, continue with the deworming and vaccination of cats, or- ganize the annual visit of the equine vets, and hold other events. We will also have special iron boxes made containing bags for the collection of dog excrement, to be placed at four spots in town. The structures will blend in with the environment, and their cost will be covered by HydraArk.
At our spring neutering session, HA will spay 6 privately owned dogs for a discounted rate to show our support to the community during the crisis, when such an expense can be to great for some families. Through this effort we hope also rise awareness about the benefits of sterilization as we all know that private pets create strays worldwide.
We also intend to focus our efforts on neutering cats in different areas, especially those from which we have begun bringing cats for sterilization.
Publications & Conferences
In 2014 HydraArk assisted with the filming of a doc- umentary by Emma Baus, The Nature of Cats, for the France 2 channel, which at its first airing was viewed by over 1 million people; last year the association also helped with the production of the book Island of Cats—Hydra by internationally renowned wildlife photographer Gabriela Stabler, with stunning photos of Hydra’s animals and the island. The release of the documentary and the book in 2015 contributed to promoting our island in Europe and worldwide. Hy- draArk expects to organize an event to present both projects to the island in the spring.
In collaboration with Ed Emery and the Free Universi- ty of Hydra, the “International Conference on Donkeys and Mules” will be held on the island in October 2016.
Other Activities: Environment
HydraArk plans in the future to contribute to environmental protection through tree planting and other activities. On April 17 its members will participate in “Let’s Do It Greece,” an initiative of the Environmental Association of Attica’s “Time for Action” and the Greek Solid Waste Management Company. On that day, all across Greece, volun- teers will perform cleanup operations, landscaping, and aesthetic upgrades in public spaces in every corner of the country. HydraArk plans to clean a beach where a large amount of plastic has washed ashore. Members who wish to participate are more than welcome! For more info, e-mail us.
HydraArk would like to thank the communi-ty members who have worked voluntarily over the years, feeding and caring for their cat colonies, like Valerie and Brian Sidaway, Popi and Adonis Zogkou, Carrie Mexi and her family, Takis Diamantis, Maria Hanson, Eleonora, Jennifer, Nici, Rapsody, Judith, Stauroula, and Christina, among many, many others. We also thank the dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly at our neutering clinics, assisting the vets and caringfor recovering cats. Special thanks to our president, Argyris, for all his efforts: carrying cats back and forth for TRN, setting up the clinic, dealing with all issues, representing us at municipal councils and with the police and port police, running to all incidents and situations, and taking care of so many animals.
We are grateful for the support of vetrinarian Irini Resou and vet nurse Carol MacBeth, Animal Action, the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust of Geneva, Help Animals International, and all our donors, especially Felicity and Jerry Panas, Gabriela Staebler and her hus- band Peter, publisher Matthias Reuss of Editions Reuss, and Heidi Keller and her family. We also thank Athena Tsigkourakou and Georgia Tsitsinaki for their valuable assistance in adoptions and more.
Mr. Andronikos Tsigouni generously donated his services as an architect to draw up plans for the shade canopies in the harbor; for this and for his valuable help in various areas, we proclaim him an honorary member!
Finally, we wish all a bountiful 2016, with health and love, and we hope to make our de- sire for a permanent space for our efforts a reality.
How to Help!
Please visit our website at How to Help page to become a member or make a donation. Hydra’s animals will thank you for your gift in any size.
Call for Volunteers!!
If you will be on Hydra during the weekend of April 8–10, 2016, we need you! We will be holding our spring neutering session and need volunteers to help catch cats and to man the clinic during the three days of operations. If you are interested in helping, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many thanks to our wonderful members Gabriela Staebler and Christian Lemmer-Diedrich for the use of their beautiful photos.