Donkey harnessed to cart
Donkey harnessed to cart

Helping working animals in Mauritania

On the west coast of Africa, Mauritania remains one of the poorest countries in the world.

Countless families in Mauritania rely entirely on working animals to earn a basic living of sometimes only a few dollars per day. Since we started working here in 2001, there has been a huge demand for our services and we now provide more than 80,000 treatments to working animals each year.

Mauritania, donkey on the right hand side

MAURITANIA AT A GLANCE

  • Population: 4.4 million
  • Area: 398,000 sq km
  • Location: West Africa
  • Capital City: Nouakchott
  • Estimated number of working equines and camels: 1.8 million

Spana Operations

Veterinary Care

  • Two SPANA centres, one in the capital city Nouakchott and one in the town Rosso
  • Two mobile veterinary clinics
  • Last year our small but dedicated team provided veterinary treatment to more than 110,000 working animals

Education

  • Our schools education programme currently consists of children from Nouakchott visiting the SPANA centre six times a year to participate in animal welfare lessons alongside a mobile classroom
  • In 2018, we employed our second humane education officer to go out with our new mobile classroom, delivering important lessons
  • SPANA Mauritania also introduced a new 24-lesson humane education curriculum to be delivered over three years
  • We reached more than 3,300 children each year through this improved education work

Training

  • Through our training programmes, 44 people in Mauritania received formal veterinary or educational training in 2018, and nearly 7,500 animal owners received advice or training in animal welfare
Man and camel calf

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF COUNTRY DIRECTOR, BEBEHA AHMED

The SPANA Mauritania Country Director, Bebeha Ahmed, tells us about a typical day at our busy centre in the capital of the country, Nouakchott.

7.00am – The team arrive at the centre and the grooms start preparing food for the inpatients and cleaning out the stables while the vet and technician prepare the daily medications. We then check on the inpatients, which are mainly donkeys suffering with problems including fistulous withers, wounds and lameness. The team checks the temperature, pulse and respiration rate of all the inpatients before administering medicines and cleaning and redressing wounds.

8.00am – The outpatient clinic opens and animals are brought in for the treatment of illness and injuries, as well as routine procedures like dentistry and foot trimming. The vet, technician, groom and two farriers are kept very busy, while Baba the teacher makes a record of all owners that bring their animals in. The majority of patients are donkeys used to pull carts of water, goods or building materials around the city, with fewer horses that are mainly used to pull taxi carts and occasionally for riding.

9.00am – Two mornings a week classes of schoolchildren come to the centre accompanied by a teacher, to learn about animals, their role in the environment and their needs. Baba takes the lessons with Wan the vet technician assisting.

12.00 midday – The team packs equipment into the truck and heads out with the mobile veterinary clinics. They visit two or three water points in the town where they will treat mainly donkeys. The team see many wounds caused by badly made harnesses.Each water point is visited every month, with Baba the education officer attending to advise owners on how to steer the donkeys without causing injuries.

3.00pm – After a long day the team return to the centre for final checks on the inpatients before heading home. There is a guardian who lives at the stables and takes care of the inpatients overnight. He will give them feed and water and check on them through the night. If an inpatient needs treatment or an emergency arrives, the vet technician Wan always comes back to see to them.

Watch SPANA ambassador Ann Widdecombe talk about work in Mauritania

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