Remote Arnhem Land outstation receives much-needed Veterinary Services

Image – Young Mäpuru residents help Dr Chelsea prepare a patient for surgery

Mäpuru, a remote outstation located in north east Arnhem Land, is home to just nine households of community residents, but its growing dog and cat population was cause for concern. AMRRIC was contacted by Mäpuru community residents via the local school, Mäpuru Yirralka College, for assistance as their regular vet was unable to attend.  

AMRRIC received a Northern Territory Government Animal Welfare Grant to service remote Indigenous outstations and homelands through the territory, and was able to use these funds to support veterinary services in Mäpuru. AMRRIC Program Manager-Operational Delivery and veterinarian Dr Chelsea Smart and AMRRIC Project Officer and veterinary nurse Katrina Doody travelled to Mäpuru over a few days in late October. The team were lucky to be flown to the community by Mäpuru Yirralka School in a light plane over beautifully scenic Arnhem Land from Darwin and even enjoyed a quick stopover on picturesque Galiwinˈku.  

Over two days, the team managed to desex all 22 entire dogs in Mäpuru, which included 8 female dogs and 11 male dogs. The team were also able to desex 3 cats, including 2 females and 1 male. All 30 dogs and 3 cats in Mäpuru were treated for parasites and passed their health and welfare checks with flying colours.  

Special thank to the staff at Mäpuru Yirralka School, Marthakal Homelands Health Service and East Arnhem Regional Council for their support in planned and undertaking the visit. Also sincere thanks to the people of Mäpuru who welcomed the team into community and were a big help throughout the program.  

Being able to provide these services and care for animals in such remote areas is vital and will continue to benefit the health and wellbeing of both the animals and their owners in this remote part of the Top End.  

Michelle Hayes
Author: Michelle Hayes