This website was once owned by the Hellenic Wildlife Hospital also called ‘Ekpaz’ located in Aegina, Greece. HWH is a non-profit organization. It is the first wildlife care center in the Balkans and South Europe. It started its operation in 1984 as a rehabilitation to treat animals in the wild that have been injured before releasing them back to their natural habitats after they have been healed.
The center Receives over 3500 injured or poisoned wildlife year, most of which belong to protected species of birds and other animals which it considers endangered. Of these, more than half are considered able to survive freely in their natural environment after their treatment, and thus they are later released.
Through it efforts, the center has helped protect endangered species that have and / or in Europe small population in Greece. Such is the Imperial Eagle, the Golden Eagle, the Spotted Eagle, the Lesser Spotted Eagle, the tailed, the kestrel, the Falcon, the Vulture, both types Pelicans, the Flamingos, the Glossy Ibises, the Purple, the Bittern and more.
HWH promotes awareness with comprehensive information on issues and problems of wildlife in Greece. Hundreds of people each year visit the HWH in Aegina facilities. In addition releases, which take place several times each year in important habitats all over Greece have seen the attendance of various visitors and groups invited and often involve schools, local cultural and environmental organizations and local residents. At the same time there are also organized events and discussions.
HWH was honored in 1992 by the Academy of Athens Award for its action on the environment and voluntary work of its members.
All through these years it has acquired considerable experience in the care and handling of wild animals, their reintegration into the wild, the ethology of the species, their distribution in Greece and the problems they face.
Objectives of HWH include:
- Care of those wild animals that are injured and unfit to survive and reintegration into the wild far from them after treatment is healthy and able to cope on their own.
- Collection of data on the risks to wildlife throughout the country.
- Effective action to minimize the risks to wildlife by developing preventive action and proposals for their bodies.
- Protection of endangered species through awareness and information of the public and the competent bodies implementing the state policy for the protection of species and their habitats.
Thanks to the new facilities (EPPER Program, Piraeus Prefecture 2000), the well-organized and equipped clinic and extensive experience available, the HWH is able to provide the necessary care for the wildlife rehabilitation in the wild.
Unfortunately, HWH abandoned this domain sometimes back and probably moved to a newer domain, ekpaz.gr. I decided to bring this website back and I will of course, support the need to protect and conserve wildlife. But I’m adding a new focus topic too, which is how caring for animals is also beneficial to the health of people, in a lot of ways.
Caring for Animals
There are some moments in life which can subject one to intense pain, and emotional torture. There are those times that we wished that the bad that is happening to us just didn’t do so. Life can be cruel at times. There are situations which a person may encounter and helps in shaping one’s perception. But it all depends by how you will handle such situations and who is there for you during those tempting moments.
I was aged just 7 when my parents were involved in a grisly road accident. They both died; my dad died later in hospital from his injuries, while my mum died instantly at the crash. But even prior to that, my mum had been receiving radiotherapy for her breast cancer. It was the most traumatizing moment of my life. I just couldn’t believe that I had to live without my parents. That was the harsh reality that I had to live with. I was at school when all that happened and what was left of our happy family was only me and our pet dog, Zeus.
After their burial, my aunt took me and Zeus to live with them. It was neither easy coming into terms with what happened nor easy getting along easily with my cousins. Everything had happened really fast. My pet dog seemed also not to understand the transition. He too missed his master a lot. But I was there for him. He became my best friend and I spent more time with him than the rest of the family. He helped me in grieving as well as lessening the pain and trauma that I had suffered.
Animals have an Emotional Connections with Humankind
Through him, I got a new meaning in life. We created an intimate relationship unlike we were before. We would play together, I would sometimes take him for a walk around the neighborhood, I would wash him, groom him and feed him. He also used to sleep in my room. Whenever it was time for the death anniversary of my parent; I would go there with him and spent a few hours talking to my parent while he kept me company.
He became a source of inspiration after what had happened. He helped me overcome my traumatizing emotions. He helped me build my confidence and forget the past as I forged ahead in life. Together, we formed a new bond and it was through him that I developed deep love for animals. I started caring for animals while I was still young.
I first volunteered to work at animal adoption center while I was 16. By this time, Zeus had already passed away. Like I said, he had helped me get over my past and have deep love for animals. I always felt the need to look after them because of the emotional attachment that they can provide one; the same way it happened to me while I was young and traumatized. At the adoption center where I enrolled as a volunteer, I would go there over the weekend and help in preparing food as well as feeding the animals. I’ll also mention that it was during this time, that I was sticking to certain food that helped me shed some pounds. Yup, it was pretty tasty, and it helped.
Caring for Animals Helps us Improve in Social Development
The adoption center was there to help animals that had suffered various injuries or those that had strayed away from home and the owner had not picked them up. There was one particular dog at the center that I loved much. While there, I would wash him, groom him and take him for a walk just like I did to Zeus. As a matter of facts, he had the traits that Zeus possessed only that he belonged to a different species.
The dog had been at the center for almost six months and yet was still unclaimed. I even talked to the management about the prospect of adopting him, but as per their regulation, that would only be possible if the dog had been at the center for more than six months and still was unclaimed. There were also documentations that I would have to fill before they could let me have him.
There were other activities that I did at the center such as taking visitors around, cleaning the kennels and cages and ensuring that the enclosures were well maintained. It is my love for the animals that prompted the management of the center to sponsor me to undertake a course in animal care.
I did a certificate in practical small animal care skills and eventually I pursued a diploma in training and development of animals. After graduating, I worked for various businesses taking care and training animals especially dogs until I decided to establish my own pet store where I started selling pets. I then expanded my business to include dog training which I still run to date.