Hi everyone, I read and visited a lot of great travel blogs recently and there were so many bloggers who wrote about their perfect holidays and experiences in Bali. Well, I’ve recently been there and I quite understand the big buzz about that beautiful island: party, beaches, shopping, yoga and re-energising, very friendly people, delicious food, temples and amazing nature… Bali has it all! So I thought, why not starting my contribution to this destination with a post that could make a difference, even if it’s a small one? … Therefore, I’m willing to put the jokes aside for this post about supporting animal welfare in a holiday destination.
BAWA – Animal Welfare
[bctt tweet=”BAWA works to save, protect and improve the lives of all animals in Indonesia.” username=”thetravelbias”]
During my stay in Bali, the sight of all those stray dogs roaming around the streets somehow shocked me. Some seemed fine, but a lot of them were in pretty poor shape. As an absolute animal lover, I started to search the Internet with the hope to find an association that was caring for those street dogs. Promptly I came across something called BAWA – Bali Animal Welfare Association! I read through the website and went straight to one of their shops in Ubud, in Jl. Ubud Raya. The shopkeeper was amazingly friendly and forthcoming. I had an inspiring chat with her…while heartily souvenir-shopping for my very own and very spoiled four-legged companion at home.
BAWA is a non-profit organization based in Indonesia and works to save, protect and improve the lives of all animals in Bali and beyond.
Bali dogs – a love/hate story
The link between Balinese people and the dogs has always been difficult and inconsistent. Here are just a few facts about Bali’s dogs to illustrate this conflictive relationship:
- With the rabies outbreak on the island, people became even more wary of the free-roaming dogs. Often they throw stones at them to scare them away when they come too close. That’s why you often see dogs in a poor state with open and gushing wounds.
- At the same time, most dogs are not stray; they belong to a family or a Warung. Withe the Balinese hinduism, some are seen as the guardian, the good spirits of their home. Though, that does not necessarily mean that they will be fed properly. Often they are malnourished and covered in mange.
- Although scientists at the University of California Davis (UCL Davis) analyzed DNA samples from Bali’s street dogs and concluded that the Bali dog is the oldest breed of dog known to men, full breed dogs have simply become more fashionable on the island.
- Since the import ban of dog to Bali was lifted in 2004, Balinese people prefer buying “beautiful”, full breed dogs, which, they think, are more prestigious than the simple Bali dog.
- Scientists, animal welfare associations and dog lovers try to get the Bali dog registered as a full breed. This would dramatically improve its reputation among Bali’s population.
BAWA‘s aim is to stop the culling of these dogs by vaccinating them and containing rabies without killing. They also feed and spay them. Meanwhile, they try to educate Balinese children with instructive interventions in schools.
Of course, BAWA’s effort does not only consist in helping the dogs. BAWA also helps stray cats and tries to educate tourists for responsible tourism. Travelers often contribute – unknowingly – to animal cruelty by visiting dolphin pools, elephant parks, zoos, pet markets and wildlife parks.
” BAWA is committed to raising awareness of the cruelty inflicted on these animals – often behind closed doors – and to lobbying for legislative change to protect all animals from abuse and exploitation.”
All this comes with a cost (money and human resources). If you want to help, you can either do so from the distance or during your stay in Bali. Read through their How to Help section.
I’m sure you’ll find a way or another to get involved or give BAWA some support to make a difference to the lives of Bali’s animals!
Thanks a lot for reading this post & have a nice stay in Bali!