Turkish vet in an earthquake zone

Animal-Heroes-drugsezels-turkije

Ali Lacinbala was nominated as an Animal Hero because of his years of dedication to rescuing animals in Turkey. Ali has been rescuing, caring for and homing animals injured in Turkish earthquakes. Now a veterinarian, Ali has dedicated his life to building an animal sanctuary in an earthquake region. We asked Ali to explain his backstory and why he needs help to move, fence and rehome 115 animals in just a few weeks.

Ali's donkey sanctury
Ali Lacinbala and Esther Kef at the Donkey Sanctuary in Turkey

ALI WRITES HIS OWN ANIMAL STORY
While studying to be a veterinarian, I saw a beautiful short film about animals in need. The empathy expressed towards animals had a big impact on me and influenced me during my life.

For years and with my own means, I fed bakery products and meat scraps to animals in mountainous areas and near garbage dumps. I joined a meeting at HAYTAP, a respected Turkish animal welfare organisation, where they played a short film about their work caring for animals. I had been under the influence of that movie for years and didn’t know that it was about HAYTAP. The emotion and passion for their work turned me into one of HAYTAP’s leading volunteers.

In the next years, I tried to establish volunteer feeding groups for animals. I was usually alone since young people were in the grip of unemployment and/or iPhones. Unfortunately, in our country, the common belief is that animals should provide meat and plants should provide food. Even though some older aunts tried to help us in our work as animal rights defenders, activism was generally lacking and slowed down.

This friendly dog was hung on a tree and was saved by Ali when we visited

HAYTAP ACADEMY
I wanted to take action to increase awareness. So, I started the HAYTAP ACADEMY to educate and connect with younger people about caring for animals and animal welfare. I divided the program into 3 age groups, each with different objectives.

  • 5 to 12 age group: I carried out activities to develop children’s feelings of empathy towards animals.
  • 15 to 18 age group: I held meetings and seminars on protecting nature, creating green areas, and learning more about the veterinary profession.
  • 18 to 25 age group: I created a program where veterinary faculty students and new graduates received workshops on how to better treat animals to help them study and improve how they handle future cases.

HAYTAP TREATMENT CENTER
With the support of HAYTAP and based on the work at the academy, the HAYTAP TREATMENT CENTER was established and is contributing so much to the region. When it was founded, no facility within 80 km could take animal X-rays. Now, it’s the most experienced clinic in the region for animal fracture treatments.

Ali’s and his colleague treating a stray dog with a tumor.


The center isn’t fully complete, more equipment is still needed and being added. Even so, the center has provided treatment for more than 200 fractures and more than 3000 stray animals with internal problems every year.

Sick dogs have their own rest area at the clinic where they can stay as long as it is needed.

The facility was built inside an earthquake zone in Turkey and 130 km away from the heavily damaged city of Hatay. Because of the proximity to 2023 earthquake, the HAYTAP TREATMENT CENTER has been able to provide care for hundreds of earthquake-affected animals to breathe again.

HAYTAP RETIRED ANIMAL SANCTUARY
It took about 2 years for me to feel ready to establish a similar animal care facility in my hometown of Osmaníye. Our 10,000m2 fenced farm is located within the borders of the national park and hosts the victimized animals in a forested area of ​​​​about 200,000 m2. The sanctuary enclosures, fencing, and housing took 9 months to build.

DONKEYS IN NEED
This sanctuary is home to previously over-worked equine animals, mostly donkeys, that were once exploited by human beings. When they were injured and could not haul things, many of our donkeys were left to die because of foot wounds and fractures. We have repaired what we could and sometimes had to remove a leg to save a life.

ANIMALS SAVED FROM FIRES AND RUBBLE  
We also house small sheep and goats that survived the Mediterranean fires. We have cows, sheep, goats, and poultry that were left to face death under the earthquake rubble in the Maraş and Hatay.

This young cow was rescued from the earthquake

We transferred each one of these animals to the sanctuary, each one has a different rescue story. Many lost their families too and have dramatic and shocking experiences.

MORE STRESS AND LOSS FOR 115 ANIMALS
Now all of that work, time, investments and most importantly the homes and lives of 115 animals are being threatened. Our farm is on the verge of losing the land and we are being forced to move due to bureaucracy. To save our animal sanctuary, we need to move to a new region.

EMERGENCY NEED FOR LAND, MATERIALS AND HELP
To rehome our sanctuary and animals, thankfully, we have been allocated a new area of ​​land around 50,000 m2. But, we will need to build a bridge so the animals can pass through the protected national forest. And, we still need fencing and housing, all of which is costly and stressful for all of us. If we are not able to move, the animals in need will be left homeless by the end of November.

WANT TO HELP SAVE aLI’S 115 ANIMALS? YOUR DONATION CAN SAVE LIVES!

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