Commentary: Horse Neglect

Post by John Peaveler


[Vimeo]

Working for K’S PATH can be a bit of a roller coaster. I have days when I absolutely love my job, and days I could really live without. One of the worst scenes we regularly encounter is that of neglected horses. I use the word neglected, because they are rarely abandoned until survival is almost impossible. Instead, they are kept, often without shade, food or water for most of the day. They are denied adequate if any veterinary care, and their condition gets worse day by day until the inevitable end finally arrives. The ‘lucky’ horses die where they live. In the worst cases, someone makes a prognosis of hopelessness, and the animal is left in the desert to die without any possible chance of survival; a practice referred to as ‘turning it’s fate over to God.’ With a small sanctuary full of donkeys and horses, and monthly expenses pushing 700KD, K’S PATH has few options to accommodate new horses. The obvious solution is to prevent the animal from being neglected in the first place. We try talking to the owner as politely as we possibly can.

The result is invariably the same: ‘you can’t tell me what to do with my horse.’ And they are right. Their ownership under Kuwait law is absolute, and it would take a brave legal team with no more prominent case to enact Kuwait’s limited cruelty laws. So we do our best. We give them water, and we buy them what food we can afford to give, because we’ve learned over time that when you can’t fix a problem, you can only do all you can, then move on to the next animal.

What do we need to solve this problem?
1. Legal help, in the form of an enforcement and prosecutorial team.
2. A properly sized, equipped, staffed, and funded sanctuary.
3. Education. This we do. Our message? Compassion and kindness.

You can find an equine success story [Here]

Post by John Peaveler
Managing Director
Kuwait Society for the Protection of Animals and Their Habitat


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Eagle and Owl Release

Post by Mark

The above is the latest video by K’S PATH and below is the description:

This short film features the release of a Scops Owl and a Steppe Eagle. The owl was found being sold by children while the eagle was found exhausted on the beach, presumably having exhausted itself flying against the wind during the day. Our community responded wonderfully by calling K’S PATH and helping to catch and transport these majestic creatures. Both birds were promptly given a clean bill of health after being seen by K’S PATH veterinarian Dr. Madhulal Valliyatte. Thankfully, they were both released the following day.

If you find a wild bird in distress, call 6700-1622. If it’s safe for you and the bird, you can use a towel and cardboard box to catch it. Keep the bird covered in the box, in the dark if possible, and in a quiet place. Avoid heat and noise. You may give a bowl of water if necessary, but don’t attempt to feed a wild bird. The wrong food can be much worse than no food for a short time. Our phone is switched off at night but all missed calls are returned in the morning. A message will get the quickest response.

Let’s be a community that works together to take care of wildlife.

[Vimeo]


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Tag along with K’S PATH

Post by Mark

Last week I went on a tag along with John Peaveler of K’S PATH. It was a spur of the moment thing, I had emailed John during the day asking him if he had anything interesting I could tag along with him on and he replied telling me they had something that night and if I was interested I could join them but I’d have to basically sleep in the desert. So I did. I had no idea what to expect or what they were doing, all I was told was to bring some food in case I needed to eat.

I headed out to a nature reserve in Abdeliah around 9 in the evening where I met up with John and his team. This nature reserve was a small protected area in the desert with some artificial lakes and plant life that were starting to flourish. It’s a KOC funded project located right next to one of their water wells and it’s a beautiful place that’s attracting birds and other wildlife like desert mice and foxes. Since the reserve is also a few kilometers from Kabd, an area known for puppy mills and dog fighting, a lot of stray dogs from there wonder into the desert and dig their way under the fence into this nature reserve. The stray dogs end up scaring away wildlife and disrupting the ecosystem which is why K’S PATH was hired to clear the area from strays.

During the day the dogs tend to hide and take cover but during the night and early mornings they’re out and about looking for food. I was actually pretty surprised to find dogs in the desert but turns out they live in the desert because it’s safe and go into the city whenever they need food. K’S PATH had around 24 cages placed all around the reserve to try and catch the dogs and our evening was spent driving around and listening for dogs that might be caught in them. Once the dogs are caught there is a very strict procedure that has to be followed, one that is incredibly humane to the dogs:

1) Only one person approaches the cage
2) The cage is covered with a tarp so that the dog feels safe
3) No flash lights are used, only a very low intensity red LED
4) No loud noises, sticks or anything else that might scare the dogs are used

Once those steps are taken the dog is evaluated. If the dog is deemed friendly it is taken back to the K’S PATH shelter where the dog goes through further tests before being placed up for adoption. If the dog is deemed aggressive then the dog is humanely euthanized on location.


One of the dogs saved that night

Last year a program similar to this was done on a larger scale in Ahmadi. The dog problem in Ahmadi had gotten so bad that dogs where chasing people on the streets. KOC really had only two options, either get the government involved who would have poisoned the dogs similar to what they did in the Free Trade Zone. Or there second option was to get K’S PATH involved who would handle the situation in a much more humane manner and even save the dogs that could be saved. In the end over 1,000 dogs were captured and there no longer is a stray dog problem in Ahmadi.


My not so comfy bed for the night

It was a pretty interesting evening and I managed to learn a lot. Best part is on the way back home the next morning I ended up capturing the surreal “Camels in the mist” shot. I’m hoping to do some more tag alongs with them so I can try and document their work which I believe needs attention. They’re a non-profit organization are always looking for volunteers and donations so if you’re interested in helping out visit their website [Here]


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Camels in the mist

Post by Mark

Captured the photo below on my way back from Abduliyah this morning. I was driving along the 604 when I spotted a pack of camels crossing in the distance in front of some kind of plant in the backdrop. Any other day it might have looked normal but this morning with the mist (or most likely smog) it looked like something out of the National Geographic so I quickly drove off the road and slamed my brakes. I got out of the car ran to the trunk, got my Nikon D800 out, put on my 80-200mm f/2.8 lens and then ran back to the front of the car so I could quickly get some shots before the camels walked further away from the plant. I managed to get around 6 or 8 shots but right now I like the one above the most. I didn’t retouch it at all just cropped in a lot (thank you Nikon for all 36 megapixels).


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PAWS Needs Help

Post by Mark

PAWS are a group made up of part-time local and expat volunteers who are committed to protecting animal welfare in Kuwait. Recently they got a notice from their land owner to vacate their shelter in Kebed and they now desperately need financial help to move and set up a new shelter. They currently have over 100 dogs and 80 cats which need a new home. For more details on the situation as well as information on how you can help visit their website [Here]


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K’S PATH Fundraiser Quiz Night

Post by Mark

K’S PATH will be holding their fundraiser Quiz Night at the end of the month at the Australian College of Kuwait (ACK). It should be a fun evening with exciting quiz rounds, dinner, and great prizes. Teams can have up to 6 members at an entry fee of KD 10 per team member. It’s a great way to support a worthy cause and all proceeds will go towards K’S PATH’s shelter and programs.

If you’re interested in taking part just email your team details to events@kspath.org by September 23rd at the latest.

Date: Friday, September 28th
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Australian College of Kuwait (ACK)


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The birds are back at mangrove beach

Post by Mark

A couple of months back I posted about how the mangrove stretch in Sulaibikhat was recovering from the pollution and K’S PATH have now posted another updated.

The birds are back at Kuwait’s ‘mangrove’ beach at Sulaibikhat, a key ecologically rich marine habitat protected by K’S PATH’s marine conservation program and Al Yaal. The green stretch of vegetation alongside the mangroves was first spotted early this summer, the result of countless hours put in by volunteers to clear what was for long a ‘river of waste’. Our clean-up at this site on August 24th was highlighted by the first sighting of a flock of flamingos and other bird species since the onset of summer 2012. We have a lot of work to do at this site including shoveling recently deposited top-layer debris. Join in to protect this fragile habitat.

Check out their Facebook page [Here]


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BBC Earthflight

Post by Mark

I was watching the video Falcon Eye on Q8 All in One when it reminded me of the video above called Earthflight. If you haven’t watched it before you should. [YouTube]

Note: Those are real birds and not 3D animations


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An abandoned puppy mill and no more poisoning

Post by Mark

An abandoned puppy mill was discovered in Lebanon by BETA (Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) where they found 28 dead dogs and 12 that were alive feeding on the dead ones. Absolutely horrible and the video is graphic so you’re warned. Hopefully this will cause Lebanon a lot of embarrassment and the owner of the puppy mill gets prosecuted to set as an example to others. [YouTube]

In other news, here in Kuwait the Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) will no longer be poisoning stray dogs. If you remember early on in the year a huge controversy erupted when video and pictures showed dogs in the Free Trade Zone dead after being poisoned. PAAAFR will now be working with the UK-based WSPCA and local animal non-profits organizations to learn alternative animal control methods. Here is the link to the full story on Kuwait Times. [Link]


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Dolphins Swimming Shot with a GoPro Camera

Post by Mark

The Blue from Mark Peters on Vimeo.

A group of guys fishing attached a GoPro camera to a torpedo and ended up capturing amazing video of dolphins swimming. Skip to around 1:35 if you are in a rush.


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