Extremely young and elderly animals have little or no chance when disasters strike. They are frequnetly the first to succumb to illness or injuries; too slow to escape and often in fragile health to begin with.
As we made our way around Fogo Island yesterday, we came across a mule whose owner Maria Andrar told us was well over twenty-five years old. Formerly her main source of transporting produce these two were now mostly “just friends”.
Maria Andrar listens as Sergio Vasquez explains how we will treat 'Mule'. Two local government officials look on. Mosteiros, Fogo Island, Cabo Verde December 18, 2014. © World Animal Protection
With a gentle smile full of affection, Maria said she’d always called the old white male “Mule”. They lived in the area least affected by the volcanic eruptions in a relatively small wedge of green. By luck of geography, they enjoy a wetter micro-climate in the rain shadow of the volcanic peak that soars above and dominates the entire place.
Despite living in the relative lushness and cooler temperatures in contrast to the searing heat of the rest of Fogo, “Mule” was in bad shape. His skin was split and raw where advanced mange – a mite-bourn infection that leaves animals with hairless, painful open patches of skin that eventually open and bleed – had taken hold. Clouds of flies covered his wounds. He stamped his hooves to shoo them away, but he was obviously tired, distressed and looking miserable. With no access to veterinary service, Maria had been unable to help him and this obviously weighed on her as she watched her friend suffer.
Sergio Vasquez approached him to examine his overall health while Gerardo Huertas prepared a deworming medication. After giving him the medicine through and oral applicator, we sprayed his wounds with a blue antiseptic and anti-mite medication to both begin the healing process and keep the flies at bay.
We’ll keep you updated on 'Mule' who seemed a bit puzzled by his new bright-blue blue coat. But the lack of flies and the treatment we administered makes us confident his twilight years will be much improved thanks to the care he received as a result of your help.