This Organization Gives Stray Animals Sanctuary in Morocco

Over 500 animals have been rescued from the streets of Tangier


(Courtesy Le Sanctuaire De La Faune De Tanger)

For Salima Kadaoui, taking care of animals has always been an issue very close to her heart. She grew up in Tangier in northwestern Morocco and saw firsthand the suffering of the stray animal population and dreamed that she could take them home and give them the love and care they needed.

“When I was eight, I was feeding a lot of strays. Someone called the authorities and they poisoned them,” Kadaoui, told NBC. “As a child, I wanted to take all of the strays home. There are so many of them. So as an adult, I did it,” she said. “I don’t want to die alone, and neither should they.”

In 2013, Kadaoui started to rescue strays off the streets of Tangier. She took them to a veterinarian to be treated, neutered and vaccinated. After rescuing 50 animals, Kadaoui saw that she needed a much bigger place for them to live, so she found land 23 km outside of Tangier to house what would become Le Sanctuaire De La Faune De Tanger.

The sanctuary offers a safe home for the unwanted and injured street animals in Tangier and in the past six years has rescued over 500 animals from the streets. The conditions are pretty primitive, and the sanctuary does not have electricity or running water.

SFT has a strict no-kill policy and offers a forever home to all the animals that come under its care. There are animals who would have been euthanized if they were not brought to the sanctuary, including 15 disabled dogs who scoot around on wheels and many dogs and cats missing limbs or other medical conditions.

It is not possible to save the estimated 30,000 dogs and countless cats in Tangier so SFT started a project to at least humanely reduce the stray population, disease prevention, and to stop the unnecessary suffering of the animals.

In Morocco there is a huge fear of rabies, so strays are often killed. Project Hayat  - Hayat is the world for life in Arabic – was founded to be a safe and humane solution for the stray animals and to change this mindset.

The method SFT uses is called Treat, Neuter, Vaccinate and Tag (TNVT). After the strays have been medically treated, spayed or neutered, and receive vaccinations, they are tagged with a yellow tag and identification number so that the public and authorities understand that these animals are healthy and not a threat.

The second component of Project Hayat is to change the mindset of fear and mistrust of animals by providing education. SFT goes into schools and talks to children about animal welfare and TNVT. They use videos and posters to engage the children.

Working with children is very important to the sanctuary because according a spokesperson: "Children are the future and therefore educating them from a young age is so important if you want to change the future of your country."

Kadaoui personally goes around Morocco to speak to communities and universities in order to teach them what to do if they encounter a stray or injured animal instead of chasing them away or killing them. “We’re changing mentalities,” she told Euronews. “We’re making them realize how precious dogs are.”

Her family is firmly behind her humanitarian efforts and her mother and sister have themselves taken in stray animals including a lamb and a wild boar. Good works are contagious.

Working without any government funding, Kadaoui and SFT provide a safe and secure forever home to unwanted animals who would have died on the streets and that is an amazing gift.

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