The imposing city of Petra carved into rock is Jordan's main tourist magnet and an attraction in the wider region. Due to the extensive site and temperatures of over 40 degrees centigrade, 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, conditions were not in accordance with animal welfare. We responded immediately and launched an aid project together with our partner organisation, the Princess Alia Foundation (PAF), and the Petra tourism authority (PDTRA) in order to help the working horses and donkeys as fast as possible.
Stables, veterinary treatment and education
In 2015, we started building stables for the horses and donkeys in which they are protected from the sun and have a place to rest. We also installed a water drainage system to prevent the annual destruction of stable constructions through heavy rainfall. Alongside these urgently needed measures, we began to train the animals' owners jointly with our partners in appropriate hoof care, feeding and general equestrian care. In addition, a FOUR PAWS team flies to Petra at least once a year in order to provide veterinary treatment. Just one year later, we saw 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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We plan to continue our good cooperation with the Princess Alia Foundation (PAF) and the Petra tourism authority (PDTRA). Further workshops will be organised with local blacksmiths and vets. In addition, the local equestrian association will instruct its members in the proper care and feeding of horses.