Loxton pet sterilisation drive 2022

Esther Matthew, EWT Drylands Conservation Programme, estherm@ewt.org.za and Bonnie Schumann, EWT Drylands Conservation Programme, bonnies@ewt.org.za

In South Africa, communities in rural areas seldom have access to veterinary care for domestic animals. As a result, many unwanted litters are produced by unsterilised animals, and many animals die of diseases that vaccinations could have prevented. Loxton in the Northern Cape is one of the communities that struggles with these issues.

The Loxton community and their pets were however, fortunate when a team arrived in February 2022 to carry out a pet sterilisation drive and sterilised 150 cats and dogs in just three days. All the animals that were sterilised were also vaccinated and dewormed. In addition, the team shared information on pet care with the community.

The team consisted of a veterinarian and her assistants from EnviroVets, who were supported by the Karoo SPCA Beaufort West. The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s staff and volunteers carried out logistical support during the steri-drive and compiled a list of people with animals ahead of time. The initiative was made possible with generous funding from the Aldor Trust.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) EnviroVets and the Endangered Wildlife Trust carried out the first pet steri-drive in Loxton in 2017, and repeat visits are carried out every few years to reduce domestic animal population growth and the resulting plethora of unwanted and uncared for animals. The presence and spread of domestic pet diseases are also reduces when the densities of animals are kept low, and sick domestic animals can transmit diseases, including rabies, to humans and wildlife. Besides the risk of disease transmission, this is also an animal welfare issue of unnecessary suffering that can be avoided by interventions such as these. The effects of sterilisation initiatives are long-lasting and benefit domestic animals, the community, and wildlife species in the area. Please support pet sterilisation drives in your communities wherever possible

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