Giving something back
Local women selling fruits and vegetables at Boavista © Salvador Aznar/Shutterstock
You can also get involved in animal welfare. Treatment of animals in Cape Verde, particularly cats and dogs, has been a long-standing concern. A lack of veterinarians on all the islands resulted in a large population of feral and free-roaming animals, especially dogs, many of which are in dire need of treatment for a variety of diseases and injuries.
The government’s only answer for a long time was the indiscriminate poisoning by laying strychnine during the night and collecting the bodies the following morning. This led to several concerned individuals setting up shelters and organising neutering clinics with the help of vets from overseas, and coupled with the negative publicity and its potential impact on tourism, the poisoning has now stopped.
The focus of campaigning organisations such as Cape Verde Cats and Dogs is now centred on encouraging government to create a compulsory dog registration scheme. Although many dogs have owners, the culture is to let animals run loose on the streets. All animal welfare organisations are desperately short of funds and will welcome donations of money, medicine, tick and flea treatment and even simple things such as collars and leads.
If you are a visiting vet, you could do untold good by helping out for a few days. Even if you have no experience most will welcome your assistance for long or short periods. Contact the organisation in question to find out exactly what they need.