The Veterinary Clinic in Villimale' was frequented by cat and bird owners and later extended its operation to government working hours, 5 days a week, 8 hours per day.
Located in a research centre managed by the Ministry of Fisheries, Marine resources and Agriculture (MoFA), the clinic offered basic surgeries, vaccines, neutering (13 – 16 USD), microchipping and basic treatments not requiring machines with a consultation fee of (initially) MVR50 (3.26 USD). Back then, Fisheries Minister Zaha Waheed noted that veterinary services were not within the Ministry’s mandate and urged private parties to open clinics. She also stated that the clinic would stop operations when enough private companies or individuals began providing veterinary services.
A private organization called “CareForPaws” ran a TNR program, funded through donations and supported by volunteers, and had managed to neuter and spay 365 (to date) cats from Male’ roads. However, by mid 2021, anaesthesia was no more ordered and supplied to the clinic – hence all surgeries had stopped, till the announcement that effective with January 2022, the Ministry would permanently close the clinic due to “damages to the infrastructure of the building and opening of private veterinary services in Maldives”.
Note that salaries range from lowest average of 315 USD to typically 1244 USD per month, while a decent flat in Maldives rents around 1000 USD!
To date, this vet hospital is the only official place to seek veterinary service in the Maldives. Neutering packages range from 71 – 143 USD, and spaying ranges from 130 – 195 USD, depending on the after-care needed. De-sexing appointments are currently overbooked by a minimum of 2 months waiting period, and the consultation charges starting at 23 USD up to 32 USD make it impossible to treat stray cats.
The #MaldivesStreetCatFund was started in November 2021, collecting donations to provide vet service for injured or severely suffering street cats, and for encouraging people to take street cats into their home care by facilitating deworming and flea treatment.
Several exotic animals were discovered during a police crackdown on illegal pets in 2014, including a slow loris, a royal python, a Kingsnake, a Mexican red-kneed tarantula, a sugar glider (possum), an owl, and several iguanas.
In early 2022, birds that were not on the list of birds allowed to be imported, were attempted to be brought to the Maldives. Instead of being transported back to the country of origin – an opportunity that was available – all 120 of them were euthanized. The Auditor General’s office revealed that the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture had not followed the humane recommendation of sending them back or rehabilitating them in Maldives. Read more here and here.
Late February 2023, judging many social media reports, the capital Male' started culling its community cats by first poisoning them, then bagging them up and killing them. It was done in secrecy, but cat feeders who know "their colonies" noticed the rapid decline in street cats without dead bodies present, and eye witnesses have reported watching the cruelty and fearing for their own safety if they had taken out their phones to video. Some people report that this is not the first time cats have been culled in the Maldives; especially before diplomatic visits to the country, it has allegedly been performed earlier as well. We are still shocked about the few cats that remained on Male' streets, but are still determined to reduce the community cat population in a more humane manner elsewhere and eventually also in Male'. The veterinary service in Maldives needs to improve.