Having a close encounter with sea turtles is an amazing experience, like meeting a prehistoric animal. In fact these creatures lived at the same time as dinosaurs, 100 million years ago. They survived the glacial era, yet today’s relentless destruction of turtles and their habitat may bring the species to a fast extinction. There is much we can do to prevent this dramatic process. Helping mother turtles to nest safely and protecting their nests and hatchlings is essential for their population to survive the odds against them and for maintaining the balance of the marine ecosystem.
Critically Endangered Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles nest on the beaches of Carriacou island, in the Grenadines. Human impacts affecting our sea turtles include: loss of suitable nesting beaches due to development and sand mining, accidental and targeted capture of turtles, poaching of nesting turtles and eggs.
Our ongoing Kido Nesting Sea Turtle Monitoring & Tagging program started in 2002. It is part of Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) and is assisted by UWI Department of Biology specialists. During these 12 years, the presence of Kido Turtle Teams on nesting beaches discouraged the practice of illegal collection of turtle eggs. We never had confrontations with egg collectors and in fact we know that many consumers gave up eating turtle eggs altogether.
Rescue & Release Operations
In the State of Grenada the sea turtle hunting season is closed from May 1st to August 31st, leaving eight months of legal turtle fishing activities. This is the longest “open season” in the world and the pressure put on the seasonal foraging and nesting sea turtle population is enormous. Only the critically endangered Leatherback and all turtle eggs are legally protected, but the enforcement of this legislation is difficult to implement. Occasionally, huge Leatherbacks get helplessly entangled in fishermen nets between March-April, infamously ending their ocean wide journey just before reaching their nesting sites, the beaches of Grenada & the Grenadines. Because the very short ‘closed season’ does not cover effectively the true nesting season of our turtles, many of the catches are nesting turtles that roam along the coastal waters. This severely impacts the numbers of the nesting populations of sea turtles in Grenada and the Grenadines.
Kido began Rescue & Release operations of captured sea turtles in 2002. During the open hunting turtle period, from September 1st to April 30th, a number of turtles caught alive in nets by fishermen are purchased by Kido, measured, tagged and released with the agreement that, if caught again by the fishermen, they are to be released cost free. After tagging & measuring, the animal is released in a safe deep-sea area with no nets in sight, often with the help of Lumbadive staff and within the Carriacou Marine Protected Area.
Kido Rescue Team is conscious not to foster any increase of the local turtle hunt demand. To regulate the turtle purchases, we operate only with fishermen who catch turtles with their nets as part of their traditional livelihood or have by-catch turtles in their fishing nets. It is our experience that, were we not to buy off the live turtles, these would be left to suffer greatly, slaughtered or sent to mainland Grenada alive, on their back, for their final destination in St. George’s fish market, enduring much cruel suffering for several days.
To date we successfully rescued, tagged & released (from the pot) 326 sea turtles.
This program is financed by Kido mainly through private personal donations.
“Adopt a Sea Turtle “ as a present to your family & friends.
You receive a Certificate of Adoption with photos of the adopted one and we will keep you informed if we encounter your turtle again, on the sea or nesting.
Kido views its Rescue & Release program as a temporary alleviation of sea turtle population decline until a moratorium on sea turtle hunting is approved by the Government of Grenada.
Watch the video below of a leatherback rescue:
March 2006, Carriacou, Grenadines archipelago, in the southern West Indies: KIDO team was showing a slide presentation to a primary school classroom, to highlight the desperate plight of sea turtles, relentlessly hunted and killed in cruel ways by humans, directly and indirectly all over our planet.
The children remained silent; they were fascinated by the images and stories about these magnificent animals. As we were about to leave the school, Donell, a 10-year-old boy, rushed to our vintage Land Rover emphatically alerting us that a huge black turtle had been dragged on a nearby beach to be slaughtered! We wasted no time and drove away with Donell to guide us to the site. Indeed, he brought us to a massive creature, turned upside down, helpless and suffering!
A Leatherback, the most endangered of sea turtle species and a female !!!
With the help of local volunteers we set forth to return this amazing animal to the sea, where she belonged. Of course, we first had to make a deal with the fishers who had unintentionally, they so claimed, caught the turtle in their fish net.
After wetting the turtle with buckets of sea water to prevent the dehydration of her skin, we dug a hole in the ground alongside her to facilitate the ‘turning over’ of her estimated 1000 lbs of body weight. This took seven persons to accomplish, including Donell, our truly courageous rescuer boy!
We also swiftly tagged her back flippers (an operation similar to human ear piercing) with numbered tags provided by UWI Biology Department, Barbados, West Indies and helped the behemoth turtle to reach the sea. After two hours of pushing and coaching, she reached the shallows of the southern lagoon and took off swimming slowly, albeit confused, into deeper water across the reef bar.
Finally she was free! But the eventful story of Donnella, the leatherback named after her rescuer, did not end here.
Two months later, KIDO Nesting Sea Turtle Team on night patrol met Donella nesting on a lone sandy beach in the North end of Carriacou. She still bore the scars of the ropes, used by fishers to forcibly drag her on land for hundreds of feet in March.
And she returned to nest on that same beach at night in 2008 and 2010. Her return every two years, was the happiest of omens for our team working with endangered species to ensure the future of sea turtles!
Peli, the one-footed Pelican
Years ago we received a message from Dean, a naturalist living in St. Lucia: a young female brown pelican had been rescued from stoning by a group of delinquents, who did not know nor cared what a pelican was!
Historically, the brown pelican colonies in St.Lucia had been exterminated decades earlier following the massive use of DDT pesticide sprayed on banana crops along the coast. Rains washed the poisonous chemical into the sea contaminating the coastal fish and the resident pelicans, whose diet is based on such small fish, were severely affected. They began to lay eggs that never got hard, the hardening process was chemically impaired… the pelicans were doomed. So Peli, so named by her rescuers, was likely a transient bird who landed to rest but was unfortunately spotted and pelted with rocks.
A nature park ranger rescued the large bird, but her palmed foot was so badly crushed that the vet decided to amputate. Peli had lost her foot, but not her strong will to adapt and survive and she recovered under the loving care of Dean, who fed her fresh fish and even took her to the beach daily (in his car) for a swim and a stroll on the beach.
Time came when Peli was ready for release in the wild, hopefully to join a colony of fellow brown pelicans: but where? Not in St Lucia with no pelicans in sight!
Dean found out that small colonies of resident pelicans still existed in Carriacou and that KIDO was the name for wildlife rescues, rehab & release.
Legal ‘immigration’ papers for Peli were prepared and the bird was flown with a private two-seat plane from St. Lucia to Carriacou. Her release into the flock of wild pelicans in the bay of Anse La Roche beach, near Kido Eco station, was surprisingly smooth and fast. Peli observed attentively from the beach the pelicans on nearby rocks, then tested the bay water and flew back twice, landing close as if to say goodbye to Dean and KIDO team. Then up she went, wings spread out, missing foot and all, catching a thermal lift with her new avian family who joined her in near magical gliding spirals.
We spotted Peli several times again, for years, circling and dropping down in sharp dives for small fish in the clear waters of Kido bay, her stump hanging down slightly was an easy sign to recognize, while she enjoyed her happy life under the Caribbean sky.
It was a calm windless afternoon when we received a wildlife emergency call from an island resident: in a small bay a mile south of KIDO bay, a dolphin in distress had been spotted!
Equipment ready, we jumped into our inflatable tender and in minutes we motored to the bay of Craigston. There he was, not exactly a dolphin, but a melon-headed whale, an adult 8-9 feet long, a species that often travels with large pods of dolphins. The distress was real!
The whale was frantically circling in shallow waters and suddenly diving fast hitting his nose on the hard sand bottom at full speed. His whole body, some 200 kilos of weight, would be shaken in the impact! This cetacean had possibly lost contact with his pod, maybe while chasing mackerel inshore and got trapped in shallow waters, his eco-location system sending feedback signals of close obstacles all around.
That bay is indeed surrounded by near offshore islets, cays and shallow reefs and it is known that melon headed whales do not take shallow water lightly: they tend to panic! This one surely was increasingly panicked and we were in the water observing his erratic behavior to work out a helping strategy.
We dove and swam along in turns to first show the cetacean that we were not a threat.
Then, KIDO volunteer Adam, 16 and a fast swimmer, was the first to manage to gently stroke the animal, who circled back for a repeat, then slowed his pace and eventually came to a stop… in the arms of our elated volunteer! Surely this was a once in a lifetime event with such a wild creature!
We were thus able to examine him while caressing his entirely smooth body. He had no wounds, but our attentions seemed to reassure him even further: the 200-kilo whale was now following us!
Evening approaches fast in the tropics and we had been for several hours in the water already; we were facing the challenge of how to push the whale back to the open sea, at least one mile out where the sun sphere was about to sink, west. We gently directed him alongside our rubber dinghy and, while Dario was motoring very slowly, Adam, leaning over the side, embraced the whale’s head and I held the tail off the swirling metal blade of the propeller.
The one mile journey back to KIDO bay lasted an amazing hour in which the animal indicated to Adam when he wanted to lift his head up to the surface and take a whale breath: total collaboration!
By moonless darkness we had reached KIDO, which is a small open bay, no natural obstructions all the way to the end of the continental shelf of the Grenadines and deeper waters. Our new whale friend very calmly inspected the coastal borders of the bay causing utmost havoc in the resident fish population, fish were jumping out of the water wherever the whale went!
We knew we had to get this whale back out to the deeper sea, to reach his lost pod…these whale do not survive alone, so Dario and Adam lowered two kayaks from our sailing catamaran moored in the bay and began to paddle in the dark, each kayak at the side of the whale, stroking his back and dorsal fin and encouraging him to follow them towards the deep…
This whale did just that, for almost a mile into the night away from land, spraying now and then fish smelly blows from his nose. When the light coastal waves morphed to a long heavier swell the whale slipped forward into the ocean.
Later that night we learned that melon-headed whales have a reputation to be neither friendly nor cooperative when humans try to train them and that they can respond aggressively. Because of their ‘character’, they are not targeted (good for them) and trapped to be enslaved in aquariums for water circus performances.
Well, our melon-headed whale seemed to understand very well that we were trying to rescue him and showed proof of the most intelligent cooperation and trust during the entire operation. Interspecies communication at work!
Porthos, the Barn Owl
Porthos was one of our first successfully rescued & rehabbed barn owls.
The mother of three featherless baby owls was accidentally killed while humans were trying to remove the barn owl family from under the roof of an old house to be restored in Grenada. The Grenada SPCA asked us if KIDO (based 30 miles north across the sea) could take care of the three orphaned owlets.
The three weightless owlets came via ferry boat in a cardboard box with holes and LIVE BIRDS THIS SIDE UP written across in red.
Porthos was tiny as his two brothers, but a little stronger. His siblings, barely hatched, did not make it much longer and, from the moment they died, Porthos plunged in a depression so deep that he refused to eat. It seemed that he wanted do die. We had to force feed him, open his sharp beak and place down his throat lizards & mice for one month, all the while he grieved for his losses.
Then one day he woke up from his stupor and wanted to live again! He hopped about the large cage and his appetite increased. He would instantly grab meat shreds with his sharp talons, dragging them away to a safe spot to consume his meal voraciously. Independence was calling.
Within a few weeks this little owl became so familiar with us and with our other animals around us that he would land on our head or on a dog’s back. He was also extremely curious and aware when a newly rescued creature joined our KIDO Animal Sanctuary. During daytime Porthos chose to live perched on a pipe in our door-less shower, and using the bathroom sometimes required negotiating. Nighttime no trouble, the owl-in residence was out, active on the prowl.
We had also been concerned about human imprinting and his possible difficulties to relate to other owls, but our doubts disappeared when we were called to rescue another baby owl: it took Porthos three days to realize that the owlet was in dire need of food, then he started hunting for him! In the middle of the night, awakened by his powerful screech, we would get up, open the door of the baby owl enclosure and wait until Porthos would fly from the forest through the arched window of our house into the enclosure and feed the baby with a freshly caught small lizard or mouse! This, of course, four or five times every night for a few weeks.
Porthos thus raised several of our rescued owlets. Then one day, after launching so many mating calls chirping throughout the valley, she answered his call and he finally found the love of his life and started to build his own family. Porthos and his wife were prolific, every 6 months their den (a small plywood box tucked safely under the eaves of our dome home roof) was occupied by 3 or 4 owlets and the air in the night was filled by their voices. A concert of screeches, happy chirping, playful cat-calls (yes!) and often just plain complaining about neighbor owls!
We learned the blood curdling screech alerting that the tree boa constrictor is approaching; also, when the stealth opossum, or nocturnal monkey-fox, climbs the near reaching branches of a coconut palm, another terrifying owl shriek brings us all to attention!
Porthos maintained his relationship with humans while raising his avian family. After performing his duties as a father, he would often stand on the windowsill waiting to chat with me and receive some gentle scratching around his beautiful heart-shaped face and behind his owl ears. When family life was too much, he would resume his perch on the shower pipe in the bathroom for a day or two, we understood.
Today his sons and daughters continue to be around, feeding on mice and small lizards. One single owl may catch 1500 mice per year and a family of owls more than 5000 mice per year, keeping houses and barns free from destructive invasions and ensuring natural population control.
We are forever grateful to Porthos, the Owl who allowed us to enter his extraordinary world and comprehend his message: we, though of different species, are in this world all together and need to help one another. It works.
Please support KIDO rescue, rehab & release work:
Thank you !
On September 19 a male hawksbill turtle was rescued from the pot, tagged and released by KIDO team. Hawksbill turtles are listed as worldwide Critically Endangered by IUCN.
Carriacou Animal Hospital volunteer veterinaries assisted during the release
On January 14, 2014, KIDO Turtle Team rescued a rare specimen of female Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta). Loggerheads were frequently encountered by divers 20 years ago in Carriacou waters; this is the first seen in 8 years! Worldwide the Loggerhead Turtle is an IUCN classified endangered species.
To date KIDO rescued,tagged & safely released 328 turtles. This Loggerhead was the first turtle rescue of 2014.
Please read and sign our petition to stop turtle hunting in Grenada
Thanks to The Rufford Small Grant Foundation
for its support to sea turtle conservation in the Caribbean region
Please consider a donation or Adopt a Sea Turtle to help support our ongoing environmental and educational programs.
The sea turtle population is crashing down, some 90% in the last 10 years, scientists tell us. In order to save them we need to purchase the ones caught legally and alive by fishermen nets.
Once a turtle is purchased, we examine her health, treat her, measure, tag and release the creature back in the ocean. The information collected and the tag numbers are then entered into the WIDECAST (Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network) database – a regional scientific program to monitor, track and protect these critically endangered species.
WIDECAST is comprised of independent, non-profit agencies around the Wider Caribbean Region. All of these agencies operate solely on donations and/or small grant funds.
To date we rescued, tagged and released 326 turtles back to the sea (Green, Hawksbill, Loggerhead & Leatherback), where they can continue to swim free and reproduce. We have verbal agreements from the fishermen to release tagged turtles if they happen to catch them again, as well as reporting to us where they were found.
Kido views its Rescue & Release program as a temporary alleviation of sea turtle population decline until a moratorium on sea turtle hunting is approved by the Government of Grenada.
Watch the video below of a leatherback rescue:
You may also become part of the KIDO Sea Turtle Rescue team by making a donation:
US $100: Adopt a Turtle
- Helps saving ONE turtle from the pot!
You will receive a KIDO Certificate of Adoption with photos of your adoptee and we will keep you informed of the whereabouts of the turtle you helped to save as soon as such information reaches us.
US $500: Season Rescue Friend
- Helps saving 5 turtles from the pot!
US $1,000: Friends of the turtle Annual
- Helps saving turtles from the pot!
- Sponsors environmental education and promotional materials
And up: Friends of the Turtle Lifetime
- Helps saving turtles from the pot!
- Sponsors Kido environmental education & conservation projects, including Kido Nesting Sea Turtle Monitoring firstname.lastname@example.org
KIDO also rescues abandoned and abused dogs providing them with food & shelter until a good home is found for them.
We sometimes ask ourselves who the rescuer is and who is the rescued, because in many cases we witnessed how the unplanned relationship with a rescued animal can operate healing and a positive transformation in the human involved, giving him/her a great opportunity to transcend their own personal issues by taking care of another creature’s life.
At KIDO animal sanctuary the rescued dogs live freely within the compound, consisting of several acres of undeveloped forested coastal hill land with access to a rocky beach and sea.
Fences built within KIDO Foundation compound separate groups from 2 to 5 dogs in different sections of forested compound, with shelters, shade and sunny areas. In turns, 5 or more of these dogs now resident at KIDO are brought to the beach daily for swimming or outing. KIDO’s volunteers, who join us for our nesting sea turtle monitoring and tagging program, often give us a hand to care for the dogs, helping with the sometimes complicated rescue operations.
Volunteers temporarily keep one or more as pets in their house residence and for outings.
By participating in the online-adoption program, you help to provide funding for their animals’ food and medications, which amount to hundreds of dollars per animal per year.
With 100 USD/year you partly adopt the dog, meaning there can be others to adopt the same animal.
With 300 USD first year and 250 USD consecutive years, you entirely adopt the animal. You receive a certificate of adoption and a yearly newsletter about your adopted pet.
You can also give the adoption as a Christmas or birthday gift to someone dear to you and be sure to make them happy. For more information about the adoptions e-mail
email@example.com and tell us which one of these great dogs you would like to help out.
These are some of the stories of our rescued friend:
Felipe (age 11)
Felipe was one of three puppies we found dumped in a garbage bin. His two sisters were adopted by a family on the main island of Grenada two months later, but Felipe remained traumatized and, though he is affectionate and kind, his irrepressible incontinence requires special care (and rubber boots). He shares a compound with his buddy friend Nemo.
He was the STAR of the pack! 11 years ago, a shaken slim black puppy with a badly broken hind leg was brought to KIDO inside a blood soaked cardboard-box by two adolescents from the nearby hamlet. Run over by a speeding car along the village road, the shattered bone of his rear left leg was sticking out of his thigh.
Calimero needed urgent surgery! Unfortunately the only sea ferry connecting daily the island of Carriacou to the main island of Grenada (a thirty mile rough run) was temporarily out of order and Cali had to wait two long days before being accepted as an emergency patient at the Small Animal Clinic of St. George’s University in Grenada. The veterinarian decided that the best thing to do for Cali was to amputate his leg. The delay had made it impossible to join the broken bones together successfully and gangrene was a serious possibility by then.
Cali was kept at the (private) animal hospital for two weeks and Dario sailed over to Grenada to bring the three legged black pup back to his new home at KIDO Sanctuary, in the thick wooded hills of northern Carriacou island. Fortunately, this tragedy did not break Calimero’s great free spirit and he grew to become a uniquely creative dog, running his three thin legs all about the forest, gullies and the hills. Sometimes Calimero escorts our volunteer team on night beach patrols and he was the first to subtly locate and point to a nesting turtle hidden in the bush, a success event to which he grinned broadly, as if knowingly being part of the conservation operation.
Cali’s range of articulate vocalizations won him the main character role in a Youtube mini video series scripted and filmed by Tom Tom, our turtle monitoring expert volunteer, who had recognized Cali’s movie star skills (see links)
Calimero also graciously lent his vocals for KIDO’s original Puppet play “Brothers for Life”, interpreting Mopsy, the talking dog puppet.
Nemo (age 10)
One early morning, just before dawn, Dario motored our patrol boat to inspect the lone beaches of the Nature Park, checking for tracks of nesting sea turtles (since 2002 Kido Foundation teams have conducted all night and early morning patrols to protect these nesting endangered species and their precious hatchlings).
In an area notorious for rough waves and strong coastal sea currents, he spotted a speedboat ahead and a man throwing something overboard and then moving away at high speed. Puzzled by the suspicious behavior, Dario approached the site only to find …two puppy dogs desperately struggling to stay afloat in the rough waves.
There was little time to waste and the puppies were now drifting close to jagged rocks pounded by heavy surf: not a safe place to land nor to ride a boat. With a tricky maneuver Dario positioned the boat as close as possible to the tiny brown puppies bobbing in and under water, yet trying to avoid wrecking the vessel on the rocks. Dario began to whistle hard. Nemo heard the whistle first and strong mindedly inched toward the boat, but his sister was hardly afloat, going down gulping seawater. After grabbing Nemo out into safety Dario then searched for the other drowning pup, arm deep in the foaming white water.
The tall waves were beginning to shove the stalled boat too close to the rocks, luckily the pup was grabbed and pulled out just before it was too late for all, the idled engine roared into gear, the boat sped out of danger and all was well.
The female pup was soon adopted by a local family, but no one came for Nemo and he remained with us. Felipe is his best mate and when both rush down to the beach, none like to get close to the water. Wonder why!
She proved to have the sweetest personality of all our rescued dogs. Voted Mascot of volunteer teams at KIDO, Sophie was discovered in a secluded uninhabited cove by Dario, during a nesting turtle coastal patrol by kayak. Spotted from the sea on the edge of the beach she was almost mistaken for an opossum, crouched in the sand and seemingly waiting for Dario’s first ‘move’. He encouraged her to come closer, she did so, slowly dragging herself belly-down across the hot sand, closer and closer to Dario, who was still afloat on his kayak, a few feet off the beach…then, Attack ! This dog Dario had never seen before, suddenly jumped into the kayak, snugly settled herself on his lap and… ready to go home!
We found that Sophie had just been nursing her litter, she still had some milk left and was bleeding from her vagina. A visiting veterinarian from the Grenada SPCA diagnosed that Sophie had an advanced vaginal tumor causing internal bleeding. Following two localized injections of Vincristine (a chemotherapy agent), the tumor was in remission for 10 year.
Zhawe We found this beautiful pitch black short haired mixed Labrador literally ‘dying’ to be rescued not far from KIDO Station’s entry road. She was in a terrible state of starvation.
We dreaded that she was already dead, lying motionless in the dirt road, no one else in sight, till we presented her with a bowl of food. Then, just her black tail thumped a bit over the ground… we sat beside her and she barely stretched her mouth to lick the food, THEN she ate ravenously. After the third huge bowl (we walk prepared…) she followed us, in no hurry and fell asleep on our veranda.
We later found out that Zhawe was one of the several female breeder dogs who fell victims of improvised (and irresponsible) local puppy mill ‘enterprises’. The female serves only for the purpose of producing puppies to be sold, but often the mother is kept with very little food even during pregnancy and lactation. After the puppies are sold and the mother cannot recover her strength, the ‘entepreneur’ abandons the dog to her cruel destiny and seeks for another breeder female to exploit.
We managed to rescue four puppy mill mothers in the last few years!
Zhawe doubled in size and she was a playful, happy and strong dog, she LOVED to run, swim and dive. Once, one of our volunteers was swimming with many dogs at KIDO bay and dove down to examine a bottom shark he had spotted and, to his surprise, Zhawe also dove deep down alongside him, reaching a mere foot away from that finned gray mass of muscles…beginning to feel unnerved.
Bella (age 10)
At the time of her rescue Bella was suffering from painful back seizures that periodically kept her stiff on the ground, like a stuffed animal, unable to even stand up. The vet from the Small Animal Clinic of St. George’s University told us that this dramatic condition might improve when growing up or finally paralyze the puppy. She indeed improved and now Bella runs without any problem. Yet, her daring determination to stand her ground, no matter what the size of her confronting counterpart, brings her sometimes into trouble with other dogs. Her right eye was compromised by another rescued female a few years ago as Bella sneaked close to steal her food! No one wants a one eyed female, but to us she remains: Bella, beautiful.
Zazee (age 9)
Zazee had been run over by a bus. His adoptive parent, a child from the village in the valley, alerted us immediately and we brought the sad mess up the hill to KIDO for examination. This large pup was evidently in excruciating pain, breathing fast and heavily, in total panic, all four legs appeared paralyzed and he had extreme jerking head. Fortunately we were able to send Zazee via ferry to the Small Animal Clinic of St. George’s University and the vet reported that when she opened the crate she thought that the puppy was dead! Not quite, though! As they say here in the West Indies: Ah ent’ dead yet, mun!
Zazee spent several weeks at the hospital and became the mascot of all the vets and nurses for his strong will to survive the ordeal. One leg was broken and the nerves connected to all 4 legs were damaged. When we received back Zazee he could barely stand or walk, but, with much careful exercise and his stamina to make it, he slowly reemerged to life.
Today Zazee is a playful and most excitable reckless fun creature, always ready for new adventures. He found his own ‘funny’ yet effective way to walk, jump, chase lizards and he taught himself to climb and descend steep steps carefully, but swiftly. He shows that he is very happy to be alive! The vet who succeeded to bring Zazee back to the living still asks of him and enjoys receiving photos and assessment reports about his condition. Zazee is indeed a heartbreaking living miracle!
Lucky (age 6)
The sad story of Lucky: starved for 9 months, kept short tied 24/7, hidden in a backyard by an improvised ‘breeder’, a young woman this time. Lucky was meant to be her moneymaking puppy mill female. Under total stress and degradation she chewed her own litter at birth. Before her ordeal with her girl slave master (who named her Lucky!), she was living with a person who cared and looked after her. At the time she was diagnosed to have a severe Demodex condition and was treated by a visiting vet kindly volunteering for the Grenada SPCA.
Then Lucky was taken back by her ‘owner‘ for her ‘imposed’ duty to make $ puppies and by the time we found her again we could not recognize that she was the same dog we had known only a year earlier, but for her bald patch on her back. She was a walking skeleton. Luckily after abundant energizing food, love, attention and freedom at Kido she regained her weight and her playful and inquisitive nature re-surfaced. The slow healing bald patch on her back is still there, but she does not suffer from itching. KIDO will be her rightful refuge for as long as needed!
JobJob (age 4)
A charitable lady found him in a ditch, emaciated, soaked wet, full of scabs and with hardly any fur left. She brought him to the now fully operative Carriacou Animal Hospital. JobJob, only two months old, had also high fever and, once he reached a stable condition at the Hospital, KIDO adopted him. After a few months of recovering, fattening and enjoying playing with the other dogs it was time to neuter him. The operation went well, but a week later he developed increasing muscle tremors all over his body, jaw and eyes. High fever made JobJob breath frantically and the vets could not come to a consensus diagnose. The constant violent shaking (and vomiting) worsened, even while asleep, and more than one time we thought he could not make it…
Three weeks of feeding him broth with a syringe and administering his frequent medication (antibiotics) through his rattling jaws felt like an eternity, but slowly he did improve, shaking with less frequency and starting to stand on his feet one again…
JobJob is now happy and jumpy like he was a few months after his rescue and, needless to say, he’s the baby mascot of the lot.
Amber (age 3, likely)
One day, late afternoon in June 2013, a distant intermittent whining sound coming from the forested hills could be heard, we listened and thought it was maybe an iguana hunting dog across the valley. Then the whining became audible when a fisher speedboat was passing off KIDO bay. A clear call of distress; time to check this out on the ground. So Dario, with Ella and Tomer (our UK turtle volunteers) went on patrol through the forest in search of the source of this tearful scream. Within an hour they discovered a young female bulldog with an old rope and a rusty barbed wire tangled around her neck and tied to the ground, just a few feet off a 30ft rocky precipice.
Her face and neck had ballooned, due to the lengthy and bloody strangulation. She would have choked to death soon had we not found her. Swarms of flies were festering around her, and there, unable to free herself, digging the barbed wire collar into her neck and throat, she would whine for merci when she heard voices on a passing vessel offshore!
With much care and attention not to lose precarious foot grip and end down the ravine, KIDO rescue team freed with wire cutters the now collapsing creature, enveloped her in a blanket and brought her first home and drove her right away to the Carriacou Animal Hospital. This dog may have spent some three days in such conditions in the bush, but she appeared to have been starved for much longer than that.
Amber spent her recovery time at Kido under the tender care of Ella and bond between the two was as sudden as strong. During this happy time, three months, probably the first of her life, Amber revealed herself to be a loving and gentle creature and we could not figure out why she was so cruelly abandoned to die in the forest!
The answer came from the vets who spayed her. Probably Amber was another casualty of a failed improvised puppy mill operation. She had cysts in her uterus and could not have had a successful pregnancy because of this… therefore the abandonment, she was not useful as money making puppy machine!
Well, now Amber is well and happy, after Ella returned to the UK, we found a dog loving and caring family who adopted her (along with two abandoned dogs). Her trusting nature and desire to play shows that her early life ordeal belongs to the past; the only telltale of it is in a remaining furless ring scar under her neck and her big sad eyes asking now and then: why?
We dedicate this on-line dog-adoption program to the memory of Chalky, one of our early rescued dogs, who saved our lives…well, yes: three times.
Chalky’s story (died at age15 in 2007 and was buried at sea as a seadog)
When she was a puppy, Chalky, a waterfront-free mixed ‘blond’ Labrador, was run over by a bus in 1992; her intestines hanging out of a huge bloody wound in her torn belly, but the bus driver just kept on going. An animal lover, a Dutch young lady, crew on a small yacht nearby, saw the scene and rushed to pick Chalky up, pushing back the bowels where they belonged, inside. The following buses would refuse to take her onboard with a bleeding dying dog in her arms, but eventually a taxi brought them to a vet clinic, where little Chalky remained for several weeks hanging in for her life. All stitched up, she survived and when we met her, a few months older, the pup was well and living on a sailboat with her rescuer and two more rescued dogs. We were happy to adopt Chalky as we had felt an instant bond with her and I’m sure she felt the same with us; her bulgy unblinking eyes stared with trepidation telling us that we now had a shipmatedog!
She showed immediately her love for life at sea on boats, big and small. She was at ease patrolling the deck, vigilantly checking the horizon, like an accomplished first mate.
Chalky’s life was to be happy and full of adventures, she loved to swim, ride on the bow of our boat dinghy, with her long pointed ears flapping in the wind and she did not miss even a single sailing catamaran trip with us.
The first time she saved our life occurred when we were swimming together (Dario, Marina and Chalky) on choppy waters around a rocky point off Kido bay and a speed boat was fast approaching in our direction.
The crew of the speeding boat had not seen us, as their bow was way up in the air, hammering the short waves we had not heard the boat’s engine as we were upwind. Chalky, swimming next to us, barked loud and just in time for us to see a towering hull almost above us… We dove deeper barely avoiding the propeller blades swirling like black scimitars close to our legs. The boat rushed between the dog and us and, as we re-emerged, expecting the worst, Chalky was safely floating in one piece and still barking ferociously at the fugitives!
The second time occurred when Dario and Chalkie did an overnight interisland passage, just the two of them onboard: an easterly wind picked up and the catamaran sailed much faster than planned, so they reached their coastal destination around 3am in a pitch black moonless night. The onshore wind blew harder on the sails from behind… and the twin long narrow hulls picked up speed rushing into the now calmer vast expanse of the bay where Dario planned to find an anchoring spot, steer into the wind, and drop the tall ballooning sails almost in one single operation; yet not a visible light or beacon to tell how far the coast really was… Chalky, who was almost 60 feet up front on the bow, suddenly barked loud and… another dog immediately barked back, seemingly a mere boat-length ahead of the catamaran! In the split of a second Dario knew he was running steadfast into an anchored boat and barely managed to steer the catamaran around and away. Once again, thanks to Chalky’s alertness and cooperation, a disaster had been avoided.
The third time was in Barbados. We sailed there, with Chalky on board, to participate to the 1994 UN Small Island Development States convention with our socio-eco exhibition; we displayed our cartoons and collages exhibition on social-environmental conservation themes. We slept onboard and left the catamaran at anchor for the entire day, each of the fifteen convention days, no problems, good bay, good anchor, good watchdog. On the last busy day of our exhibition we returned late, around midnight, to board our boat anchored offshore. But we discovered that we had been broken into and robbed of much of our navigation equipment. And poor Chalky had a wound on her head, certainly inflicted by the robbers.
After medicating Chalky, we decided to report the theft to the harbor Police early next morning and went to sleep in our bunks. Around 3am we heard Chalky’s unmistakable bark of alert for danger and, following her aggressive growling, we found out that an intruder, a tall and big fellow, was still on board! More precisely, he was hanging on the mast support under the deck and he was climbing onboard again!
While Marina (brandishing a flare gun and acting as ferocious-ready-to-shoot as possible!) was keeping the intruder at bay (with Chalky’s unrelenting support), Dario radioed the coast guard and in less than one hour the thief was handcuffed and taken away by two officers. On the next morning the police told us that that night three men had boarded our catamaran, they were almost ready to leave with their loot when they heard our dinghy approach (around midnight, then!); two thieves ran away fast with a dinghy they came with, abandoning the third guy behind, but, unfortunately for him, he was not a good swimmer, and we were a long way offshore in a dark night, so he hid hanging from under the deck and waited.
If Chalky had not been with us, we might have not been able to report this story.
Kido offers volunteer opportunities from March 15 to August 31. Minimum term 3o days, patrolling 5 nights a week. Two days off weekly. Volunteers patrol selected beaches along with local guide from early evening to morning, helping to monitor, measure & tag nesting turtles, mark & disguise nest location and monitor hatchlings. During the free time volunteers may explore the island, dive, snorkel and hike.
Occasionally volunteers may assist in rescue operations of sea turtles caught in fishers’ nets.
Accommodations and Costs
At Kido Ecological Station volunteers reside in the Pagoda, with bunk-style beds, a shared kitchen & two bathroom/shower areas. Volunteers take turns with chores such as cooking and cleaning. Volunteers buy their own food from the local market in town (2 1/2 miles from Kido). The costs for lodging is $ 500US for the first month and $15US for each additional day.
Applicants should be good swimmers, physically fit to walk on beaches and hiking trails, adaptable to patrol at night and sleep during the day. According to the nature of the challenges working with wildlife, volunteers need to be flexible with monitoring changing schedules. Applicants should have a keen interest in conservation ecology and be dedicated animal lovers. Vegetarian only.
Smoking, drugs, and alcohol are not allowed at KIDO. Travel insurance is required.
To apply as a Volunteer
Please complete the volunteer appication for here: http://www.givingway.com/organization/kido-foundation/?context=apply
It is indeed hot here during the nesting season so you need to be prepared to sweat and to think cool thoughts. You will often be pleasantly surprised by a cool breeze and/or light rain that you will no doubt appreciate and there is always the blue Caribbean Sea to cool down in!
You need to know that there are a lot of rescued dogs, cats and wildlife in rehab here, as well as insects, in case you have any insect phobias or pet/fur allergy.
Non-cotton fast dry clothing is best for daytime. Cotton shirts are good for sleeping and when it is cooler. All water we use is collected from rain water (there are no fresh water wells on the island), so you will be conserving water at every step. We boil water for drinking. We take quick showers. We wash our clothes by hand (sometimes with the aid of a “semi” automatic wash tub) using ONLY organic soaps. Other detergents for washing clothes and dishes or chemical spray for insects are not allowed at Kido.
What you spend while you are here will depend entirely on what you consume. You should be able to buy groceries/food for $10US per day. We do encourage you to take advantage of the area and take trips to visit offshore islets and Marine Parks on your days off which can cost between US$20-150 each.
Travel Costs and Info
Check flights to GND (Grenada – Maurice Bishop’s Airport) and catch the Osprey Shuttle to Carriacou (160 EC$ = 60 US$) at 9 am at the Carenage in St. Georges (8am on Sundays). Volunteers are responsible for obtaining travel and health insurance for the period volunteering at Kido.
Checklist of things to bring with you
- A HEADLAMP WITH L.E.D. LIGHT and RED light option (Petzl L.E.D. or Black Diamond are good choices)
- CHARGER WITH RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES FOR YOUR HEADLAMP (without a headlamp with red-light option – charger & rechargeable batteries – you cannot patrol the beaches at night without disturbing nesting turtles!)
- MOSQUITO NET (very fine mesh)
- MOSQUITO REPELLENT (natural / no DEET)
- YOUR LAPTOP (if you need to use Internet, we have wireless connection in one area of Kido compound) / alternatively you could use Internet Cafes in town for e-mails. etc…
- A SLEEPING PAD (for beach camping: self-inflating is best but anything comfortable will do)
- SUNSCREEN (100% natural) and HAT
- 100% ECO-WASHING POWDER OR SOAP FOR LAUNDRY/DISHES (there is no gray water filter system at Kido)
- LIGHT SLEEPING BAG OR JUST SHEETS
- LIGHT, LONG, EASY TO DRY, WASHABLE TROUSERS
- LIGHT SHIRT WITH LONG SLEEVES (when bugs are really biting!)
- RAINCOAT WITH HOOD
- LIGHT SHORT SLEEVE SHIRTS OR T-SHIRTS (you will sweat a lot!)
- BATHING SUIT
- WASHABLE RUNNING SHOES (for walking in mangroves, trails, and sand)
- SANDALS (“Tevas” or equivalent)
- SIMPLE FLIP FLOPS (for lounging and/or shower shoes)
- HIKING SHOES (if you choose to hike some of the more challenging trails)
- WATER BOTTLE (Nalgene or equivalent to carry water with you)
- BACKPACK (DAYPACK) – for hikes and carrying your things to the beach/outings
- MASK & SNORKEL (optional)
Other toiletries and basic medications you may need but forget to bring can be purchased in the nearby town (20 minute walk to bus stop) so don’t worry. Most places accept US dollars and Pounds Sterling so don’t worry about exchanging money to XCD (or “EC”) before you arrive. There are 2 ATMs in town that run the PLUS network so you can get cash from your bank card 24×7 just like at home.
Special diet needs
There are plenty of non-meat protein sources such as eggs and soya (vegan) that can be purchased in the markets in town. Soymilk can also be found most of the time. Specialty items that you might find in your local organic foodstore are harder to come by (things like vegan “cheese” and tofu) so if you must have them you will need to bring them with.
Your address while you are here will be:
KIDO Ecological Station – Attn: Your Name – Sanctuary, Carriacou, Grenada, West Indies. Tel: (473) 443 7936