International charity, World Animal Protection and the Organizing Committee for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games have announced a partnership to keep the city’s animals safe in the run up to and during the Games.

The Games will see millions of people flock to the city of Rio de Janeiro, from the 5th to 21st of August and again on the 7th to 18th of September 2016, to see events in over 30 different sports facilities. Many animals live close to these venues, such as dogs, cats, cattle, pigs, horses, opossums, birds, primates, snakes, alligators and capybaras, who need to be protected for the duration of the Rio 2016 Games.

The charity is training Olympic operational teams to correctly handle animals, offering guidelines on responsible pet ownership for the communities of Rio de Janeiro, and organizing adoption campaigns for dogs and cats in partnership with Special Secretariat for the Defense of Animals (SEPDA).

With over thirty years’ experience in protecting animals across the world, World Animal Protection veterinarians will provide training to employees located across the Olympic venues on safe and humane animal handling to ensure the Games can run smoothly and that guests to the city can feel safe in the knowledge that stray animals entering venues are being cared for and will not be considered a nuisance.

“We hope that the Rio 2016 Games will set an example for other major sporting events because the joy and celebrations of the events can cause much distress for animals of the organizing city,” says Rosangela Ribeiro, Veterinary Program Manager at World Animal Protection.

rio 2016

Sandra Regina Damião has lived in Vila Autofroma, a favela (slum) for over 20 years. The favela was chosen as a site for one of the new Olympic venues. Many residents who relocated left their pets behind. Sandra, and a few other women who also stayed, have tried to care for these abandoned pets. © World Animal Protection / Dado Galdieri

With a large number of residences neighboring the sports facilities, communities will be given advice on taking extra care of their pets during this busy period. In previous Olympic Games animals have been known to invade areas intended for competitions and training, putting their own lives at risk and potentially causing accidents or interruptions.

Working together with the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee, the charity will carry out community awareness raising events about the importance of keeping domestic animals safe at home during the competitions, especially street competitions, such as road cycle racing.

“We were delighted when World Animal Protection offered their support. We trust their technical advice and it has helped us to create and implement management plans for animals who may get into venues, or near the huge crowds. Without them we would have struggled to do it,” says Julie Duffus, Sustainability Manager at Rio 2016. 

About World Animal Protection

World Animal Protection is a global animal welfare organization active in more than 50 countries. From their offices around the world, they work with businesses, governments, local partners and animal welfare organizations and have formal relationships with inter-governmental agencies. They seek national and international policy change to improve the lives of millions of animals, because animal protection is a fundamental part of a sustainable future. www.worldanimalprotection.ca

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