In response to urgent requests from the Angurugu Shire Services Manager, East Arnhem Shire Veterinarian Dr Emma Kennedy organised to service Angurugu community on Groote Eylandt with a week-long visit. Groote Eylandt is about 50 km from the eastern coast of Arnhem Land and is the homeland of the Anindilyakwa people. AMRRIC program manager Dr Jan Allen took the opportunity to visit the isolated island to assist in delivering the community dog health program. Jonah Wurramara completed the team when he flew over from Bickerton Island for the week to act as liaison person and vet nurse during the Angurugu visit.
Emma and Jonah went door to door to explain to community members the services the team could provide and the positive outcomes available, including having fewer dogs per household and controlling dangerous breeds. Emma was patient and meticulous with her explanations, and Jonah used his interpreting skills to make sure community members understood the program. Taking the time to talk to locals let people ask for help with tick control, skin treatments and surgery for a tumour removal and a broken leg.
With a workable surgery site with power, lighting, a surgery table and Jonah’s excellent dog handling skills, the team went to work. The end of the wet season saw heavy rains at Angurugu which increased the difficulty in running the program. However after a week, the team left the dogs of Angurugu in excellent health; with the population under control as well as the mange.
Another program is planned for the remote Groote Eylandt communities later in 2012. Dr Jan will be joining the East Arnhem Shire team to continue to give support and training to local Animal Management Workers.
Jonah Wunamarra giving an injection to a dog
Flying over the rivers of East Arnhem land