Tommy O’Neill with one of his many beloved dogs in Santa Teresa.
AMRICC staff Chelsea, Michelle, and Katrina, in conjunction with MacDonnell Regional Council, visited the MacDonnell Ranges in March and April 2021 to complete an animal census and deliver animal-focused education in schools. The census covered all the communities in the region, capturing detailed data of both the cats and dogs living in each community. The census will be followed by detailed reports that will aid council in engaging a more tailored veterinary service for each community.
In addition to the census, AMRRIC were able to visit almost every school throughout the communities to deliver important animal-focused education. The ever-growing presence of Ehrlichiosis and its devastating impacts on community dogs and their loving owners meant much of the education was centered around recognising the signs of the disease and the most effective preventative measures people can take to stop their dogs from getting sick. The emotional and social impact of Ehrlichiosis affecting dogs in remote communities is of concern to AMRRIC, which is why education is vitally important to stopping the spread of this disease, especially in areas that often experience infrequent vet visits and/or little to no animal welfare authority.
The education program was a huge success, with a total of 157 students and their teachers engaged across the schools of the region. Students watched the Ehrlichiosis animation, produced by AMRRIC and collaborators, and were engaged with hands-on, fun activities which produced great learning results across all age groups.
The best recommendation to prevent the spread of Ehrlichiosis is to have dogs on effective tick prevention products. AMRRIC, in addition delivering this education in schools, is also pleased to be working with pharmaceutical companies and remote community stores to try and ensure that these preventative products are available in all community stores at affordable prices.
With the growing numbers of cats seen in communities, cat-focused education was also delivered in schools which highlighted the impacts cats can have to the native wildlife populations in community. Students loved AMRRIC’s Felt Cat Activity and recognized the need to limit the cat population and hunting practices at night in communities, to maintain and minimize the impacts to native wildlife populations.