Until recently, there has been little or no access to veterinary services in the region. For centuries, the Samburu people have relied on herbal veterinary solutions.
Our veterinary programme aims to provide training on proper drug use and administration. Lpajas lesoloyia heads up the team and is on a mission to improve animal husbandry in the region. He has been able to reduce wildlife/livestock conflict as well as eradicate rabies.
Dogs play a vital role in Samburu daily life. Livestock herders rely on dogs to help shepherd the flocks between the homesteads and grazing grounds. During the day, they provide a good deterrent to predators lurking near grazing grounds. Furthermore, at night an alert dog will give early warning of any predators or cattle rustlers attempting to break into cattle stockade’s. Naturally, healthier dogs will be more effective at keeping predators away.
All of this means that human-wildlife conflict will be greatly reduced because less livestock is being killed by predators. This is extremely important in an area where lion, leopard and cheetah numbers are increasing. See below for some of the major challenges that our team faces.
What we are dealing with
The area has been plagued with rabies epidemics for many years. Causing huge problems for people, domestic animals and wildlife. People who are bitten either by domestic or wild animals must travel to the nearest clinic, which can be many miles. They must then pay up to ksh’s 13000 (£100) for emergency treatment. Often animals did not even have rabies, but still people took the precaution due to high rabies prevalence. Large tracts of land were baited with poisoned meat in an effort to reduce rabies hosts. Furthermore, the presence of rabies in an area creates distrust between owner and dog.
We have a vet unit who constantly circuit communities providing inoculations and veterinary advice. Each year they are able to inject nearly 80 % of the dogs with rabies vaccine. Our coverage depends on where the nomadic communities are and if they have gone further afield in search of pastures they can be difficult to reach. At the same time as injecting for rabies, we also give ivomectin shot that combat worms and other parasites. This is resulting in overall much healthier and happier animals!
Overpopulation & pregnancy:
There are too many dogs roaming the communities, bringing many issues with them. Many dogs are homeless and cannot feed themselves, resulting in starvation and illness. These in turn create the perfect vector to carry diseases such as rabies.
Previously, many female puppies were left to die because they would soon become pregnant and therefore unable to work. This is the sad case, even though female dogs are harder working and more loyal than males. Spayed/Sterilised females are very valuable compared to males.
We are very lucky to have been introduced to a new inoculation called chemspay which is a newly developed, affordable means of sterilisation. This is a once off treatment that will chemically sterilize a female. Currently, we have just finished a trial, with positive results.
Main supporters of this project: