As you know, here at Greenview we take our impact on the environment around us very seriously. This includes the physical environment as well as the local community and people. One of the ways in which we help to support our local community is through our animal rescue scheme. I spoke with Greenview owner, Sakula, about this…
Q- Why did you first start to rescue animals?
A- Most people in Sri Lanka buy pure breed dogs to keep as pets, as I used to! But there are thousands of stray dogs (and other animals) that no one cares about. When my dogs died, I saw all these strays running around and figured that I had the space and ability to care for some so why not?! Me and my mother are both strong animal lovers so our rescue scheme grew from there.
Q- What is the outcome for the animals that you rescue?
A- Some of them we keep as pets (we currently have 4 dogs and 2 cats) and some we find homes for. Often family friends, or people in our community that know what we do, will ask to adopt once we have rehabilitated the animal from the street. We also feed animal without necessarily rescuing them: we leave food out in strategic places and fund local restaurants and businesses to do the same.
Q- How many animals have you rescued since 2007?
A- About 50, mainly dogs but cats too.
Q- Why do you think there is such a big stray dog problem in Sri Lanka?
A- Firstly, there are no animal shelters here. Secondly, a lot of people do not castrate their animals yet when they breed they are unable to care for the offspring. This leads to the puppies etc. being dumped, these then breed and the cycle continues. There are a few charities that work to reduce the numbers but they just don’t have the capacity to deal with the magnitude of the problem.
Q- Do you have any plans to extend this part of your sustainable tourism programme? If so, how?
A- Absolutely, we are only at the beginning of our project! I plan to buy a large plot of land and set up an animal shelter where we will feed and care for many animals! There will be a veterinarian clinic, a rehabilitation centre to prepare the animals to be able to go to a ‘forever home’, and we will facilitate adoption of these animals from there.