Salima Kadaoui always knew her life’s purpose… it was just a matter of time. In 2013, she decided the time was right and the doors of Le Sanctuaire de la Faune de Tanger, SFT for short, were officially opened.
Born in Tangier but living in the U.K., Sally moved back to her birthplace to create a safe haven for Tangier’s stray, injured and abandoned animals. Today, it’s home to a menagerie of more than 500 animals, including more than 300 dogs and 120 cats. Sally’s mission is twofold, however; to rescue animals in immediate need and, perhaps more importantly, to educate Moroccan citizens and local officials about the fair and ethical treatment of the animals in their care. Needless to say, it’s been a challenge. Lucky for the animals, Sally has the heart of a lion and an unyielding spirit that simply refuses to give up.
Every year in Morocco thousands of the country’s estimated 2 million stray dogs are killed in mass cullings by the government designed to control the population. But if the government had a strategy, it was nothing compared to Sally’s plan and no match for her bottomless patience.
Project Hayat, meaning “life,” involves the treatment, neutering, vaccination and tagging of Tangier’s stray dog population. Like all of SFT, the initiative relies completely on private donations to operate. Stray dogs are identified and captured, after which they are brought to SFT’s partner veterinarian for treatment of what conditions are afflicting them. Along with vaccinations, the treatment includes neutering and tagging each dog with a bright yellow ear tag. The tags identify the dog as safe to any human it might come into contact with.
Simultaneously, Sally has been meeting with both citizens and Tangier officials to gain their public support for the project. Just recently, local authorities committed to signing a convention which prohibits the killing of any Tangier area stray dog displaying the yellow ear tag. They have also agreed to sponsor Project Hayat to the tune of 25,000 Euros. To date, none of this money has been received but SFT remains hopeful that the promised funds will be released to the sanctuary this Spring.
As positive a sign as this certainly is, the greatest challenge now facing SFT is their eviction from the property which they currently occupy. The landlord had promised to let them stay there forever, on a long-term lease. He gave them an initial 3-year lease which he has now decided not to renew. He is now asking 400,000 euros to buy the land, paving the way for a huge profit for himself. As a result, a major fundraising campaign is now underway to raise funds for a new facility but the going is slow. Sally feels the heat of the challenge but remains undaunted. In the meantime, they continue to save many lives every week and desperately turn to the public on a daily basis for help.
One thing is certain… just one look at a recently rescued disabled puppy, relishing his first taste of wheelchair freedom is proof of the incredible impact SFT is having on the lives of these former strays… now happily enjoying life in their forever home at SFT…
If you would like more information about the sanctuary or are interested in making a donation, check out their Facebook page or visit their website at www.sftmorocco.org