Bam Animal Clinics-caring for donkeys through locust outbreaks & covid-19
UPDATE! WE RECEIVED NEWS FROM DAVID, BAM'S DIRECTOR, THAT TODAY, APRIL 5, THE LOCUSTS HAVE RETURNED TO EASTERN UGANDA! NOW, GETTING HELP FOR THE DONKEYS IS EVEN MORE CRITICAL!)
To get an idea what it's like to be in the middle of a locust swarm, watch this video of one of the areas where Bam Animal Clinics treats donkeys in eastern Uganda.
In February and March, Bam Animal Clinics was in Bukwo and Kween districts in eastern Uganda to help the donkeys and their owners. In these districts, people so rely on their donkeys for transport of food and water, and to serve as taxis and ambulances.
With AKI funding, IN February and March, the Bam team treated donkeys for injuries and parasites, they taught donkey owners how to make sisal saddle packs to protect their donkeys from injuries, and they answered the many questions that donkey owners had about keeping their donkeys in good condition. (Picture below: Donkey owners gather for a Bam vet clinic and sisal saddle making workshop.)
In the 2 pictures below, Bam is training donkey owners to make simple, inexpensive saddles out of readily available sisal sacks. The saddles are stuffed to give cushion and protect a donkey's back.
Sisal saddles will protect donkeys from injuries like the one in the picture below, treated by Bam at a February clinic.
Bam's Founder & Director, David said, "Most animals had wounds at the back of their tails, worms, and foot rots. Farmers were very excited to get help for their donkey's problems and to learn the new saddle system." The 4 pictures below show one of Bam's community vet clinics-you can see there's a great demand for Bam's services in this area, where there's no other help for donkeys.
But....while the Bam Animal Clinics staff was in eastern Uganda, they encountered locust swarms. Bukwo district is where the Bam staff first saw the swarming locusts:
The locusts strip vegetation from fields, leaving no food for grazing animals and destroying the crops that people rely on.
When the Bam team headed to Kween, they found the locusts had also invaded there. (Picture below: Kauswo village, Nyimei Parish, Kwanyiy Sub-county, areas with many donkeys and where people and animals have been tormented by the locusts.) The locusts didn't stop Bam from holding sisal saddle making workshops and treating donkeys in need of vet care.
Even with the locust outbreak, the vet clinics and the sisal saddle making workshops were huge successes. (Photo below: The Bam team and workshop participants send their thanks to AKI donors for supporting Bam's efforts to help donkeys in eastern Uganda.)
In Bukwo and Kween, the two main districts where Bam works, the terrain already makes travel very difficult; when the locusts are swarming, traveling in the area can be impossible. Bam is hoping to buy a motorbike or better yet, two motorbikes, to be able to move around more easily and reach more donkey owners, especially during these critical times of a double crisis-locusts and covid-19.
In late March, once the covid-19 pandemic struck Uganda, it seemed that all information about the locusts disappeared and everything was about the virus. But districts in eastern Uganda were still struggling with the effects of the locusts and still at risk of continued locust outbreaks.
To suppress the spread of covid-19, the Ugandan government is enforcing a "semi-lockdown," during which veterinary activities are allowed to continue. Bam has permission to drive to do rescues and to treat animals, but cannot organize in large groups, which means their community donkey clinics and sisal saddle making is suspended.
To continue to treat donkeys and help donkey owners, Bam is planning to hold radio talk shows (very popular at all times, but even more so during this partial lockdown) and visit individual farms with donkeys. Because locusts have stripped fields of vegetation, Bam is going to provide nutrient supplements for the the donkeys.
To ensure Bam can keep helping donkeys during the double crisis, AKI is planning an emergency disbursement to help them through this very difficult time. We invite your support for Bam's work to help donkeys in eastern Uganda.