The carved rock city of Petra in Jordan is one of the most famous and heavily visited landmarks in the Middle East. Due to the extensive size of the site and temperatures of over 100 degrees F, many tourists prefer to ride through the ruins on donkeys or horses. Around 1,350 donkeys and and horses are kept in Petra for this purpose. As we established during our first visit, the care and keeping conditions for the animals were extremely poor. We responded immediately and launched an aid project together with our partner organization, the Princess Alia Foundation (PAF), and the Petra tourism authority (PDTRA) in order to help the working horses and donkeys as quickly as possible.
Stables, veterinary treatment, and education
In 2015, FOUR PAWS began building stables for the horses and donkeys so they would be protected from the sun and have a place to rest. Also installed was a water drainage system to prevent the annual destruction of stable constructions from heavy rainfall. Alongside these urgently needed measures, with our partners we began to train the animals' owners in appropriate hoof care, feeding, and general equestrian care. In addition, at least once a year a FOUR PAWS team flies to Petra in order to provide veterinary treatment. Just one year later, we saw the first positive results: All the animals were in a much better state of health.
Through generous donors in Jordan, several of the old carriages were replaced with new and much lighter ones. These carriages help to protect the health of the horses and donkeys, especially by easing their backs. Thanks to the support of the "Robert Cave Memorial Fund" we were also able to distribute new harnesses that offer reliable protection from injury. Thanks also go to the PAF who helped with this initiative.
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Successful interventions for the equines in Petra, Jordan!
After months of planning, FOUR PAWS and The Princess Alia Foundation (PAF) visited Petra, Jordan again in June 2019 to continue with our program that aims to improve the health and working conditions of the equines in Petra park.
Together with the local vets at the equine clinic, Prof. Aburtabush (equine specialist), Dr. Abed (vet from the Royal Stables) and Dr. Zain (PAF), we managed to treat, rasp, de-worm and x-ray more than 50 horses within three days. Apart from that, Robert Hengl (Head of Equine Protection at FOUR PAWS) and Dr. Zain had a positive meeting with Dr. Suleiman Farajad, chief commissioner of the Petra Development Tourism and Region Authority (PDTRA). Points of discussion were short and long-term plans for the project were made.
Last but not least, in cooperation with the PDTRA, horse owners, local vets, and horse handlers were trained in an identification and tagging system based on the usage of microchips. They learned where and how these are to be inserted, and how they are scanned and read properly. This common practice still has to be implemented in this region.