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, we started building stables for the horses and donkeys so they would be 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 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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For the future
We plan to continue our good cooperation with the Princess Alia Foundation (PAF) and the Petra tourism authority (PDTRA). Further workshops will be organized with local blacksmiths and vets. In addition, the local equestrian association will instruct its members in the proper care and feeding of horses.