Did you know that we have a wild bird and animal sanctuary right here in Paroikia in our own backyard? The Aegean Wildlife Hospital is a non-profit organisation founded in 1995.
Paros was selected because it falls along a major bird migratory route. In the late summer, millions of birds (many of them rare or protected species), travel from northern Europe to Africa and return in the spring, but along the way, many are wounded by shotguns or fall from exhaustion. The Hospital provides a spacious and clean environment for birds and other wild animals, specialising in medical treatment according to their particular needs, release of healthy migratory birds along their migratory routes, and local ones where they are found.
Permanently disabled animals remain in the Hospital for life (euthanasia is never an option) and every effort is made to provide them with quality living conditions. Fortunately, permanently injured animals are rare since the Aegean Wildlife Hospital has one of the highest release records in Europe (approximately 70%) and has released approximately 400 mammals and birds in its first three years of operation. Releases are usually planned in conjunction with the local school and are incorporated in the students’ environmental education programme formulated to encourage the protection of wildlife.
Medical operations are performed only by certified vets associated with the Hospital who provide their services freely. The Hospital also owes its success to the Paros Medical Centre, and its director Mr.J.Tsigonias, whose contribution is vital since his highly qualified staff perform all x-rays and medical checks. Mr. Markos Koveos, a Paros physiotherapist with infra-red and laser equipment, also provides his services free of charge. Olympic Airways provides an indispensable link between Greece’s wildlife hospitals and national parks serving an ever-increasing need for domestic transportation of injured animals.
Thanks must also go to the staff of the airport of Paros who serve as an incoming and outgoing centre for these tiny patients, and to the Loggovardas Monastery, for generously leasing to the Hospital a 12,500 sq.metre site in Kamaris at a peppercorn rate.
The success of the Hospital has resulted in a rapid increase in the number of animals being admitted, so the acquisition of this property was crucial for relocation of the facility.
The manager of the Hospital, Mr. Marios Fournaris, welcomes visitors to the Hospital and is always pleased to show the outstanding work being done right here in Paros. Give him a call (or fax) on 22931 or 094-741616 to make an appointment.
Money to run the Hospital is raised by subscriptions and the donations of members and friends, one of whom could be you. If you would like to support this worthwhile effort, please visit the Hospital personally or make your donation directly into the Commercial Bank of Greece, account no. 38494384.
The Aegean Wildlife Hospital depends on the voluntary work of its members, so if you care about the conservation of our wild animals and have a little time to spare, Marios could really use your help.
IF YOU FIND AN INJURED WILD MAMMAL OR BIRD:
* Immobilise it by gently throwing a large cloth over it;
* Find an adequately sized cardboard box or animal carrier, making sure there are air holes in the side;
* Keep the animal away from your face, place it in the box, and close it securely;
* Place the box in a warm, quiet, dark and safe place (never leave outside the house, as injured animals have a unique ability to escape); and
* Call the Hospital immediately to receive instructions so that the animal can receive proper treatment as quickly as possible.