Outreach Report Samaria National Forest Park, Crete

The Animal Action Greece Equine Care Team has a long lasting relationship, more than a decade, with the mules that work in the Samaria National Forest Park!

See here a short video from a local TV station in Crete, 8 years ago:

On March 28th, we treated them in their new winter location, in the Horse Park Rethymnon at the Missiria-Platanias area. Since last year, they are being under the auspices of the Management Unit of Samaria National Park & Protected Areas of Western Crete. The Management Unit has transferred them to this private riding school where they have their own stables and receive farriery treatment. Their diet and health are regulated by the local vet who treats the school’s horses, who was present to discuss feeding regimes and husbandry issues. Teaching riding techniques to the new rangers/muleteers was also evaluated.

Our team was invited by the Management Unit and the Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency (N.E.C.C.A.) to provide dental care, and our equine dental technician, Alkis offered annual routine treatment or first dental examination/treatment depending on the case, to the seven animals which will be working in the Forest Park. Sharp edges, dental hooks and ramps were rasped down, and calculus (accumulation of calcified deposit around the tooth) was removed from several canines and incisors, leading to healthier gums. Alkis also examined Makis, an at least 35 year-old mule who is retired because of old age and leg problems. A small sanctuary is about to be created for the Forest Park’s equines at the southern end of Samaria gorge and Makis will be transferred there.

The new additions to the National Forest Park’s equines are a female mule called Maria and a young gelding horse called Anastasis. Three of the other mules have also been given names: Ermis, Bucephalas and Aristodimos. The Management Unit were most satisfied with our contribution to the welfare of the National park’s working equines, and we look forward to seeing them again next year!



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