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Gili Trawangan Remote Tourist Island Culture of Abused Ponies
 By Winniefield Park   •   30th Sep 2015   •   2,610 views   •   2 comments
Gili Trawangan Remote Tourist Island Culture of Abused Ponies

When it comes to exotic travel destinations, Bali, an island province of Indonesia often comes to mind as an ultimate destination. A neighboring island, also an island of Indonesia, Gili Trawangan is gaining a reputation, but not for the same reason as Bali. In common with Bali is the remote tropical island experience with white sands and turquoise waters. But unlike Bali, there are no cars, motorcycles or trucks on this island. Inhabitants and tourists alike walk, ride bicycles or ride in horse drawn vehicles. And, it’s the horse drawn vehicles that are drawing unwelcome attention.

The carriage trade is drawing attention everywhere. They are the target of protests in Montreal, New York City, Melbourne and elsewhere. And while you may or may not agree that the ‘first world’ carriage horses are being misused and mistreated, it would be hard not to recognize the overuse and abuse of horses in third world countries like Indonesia.

Horses on Gili T, as it’s known, are used to pull a cimodo for tourists. This is a roofed, two wheeled vehicle, brightly painted and adorned with tassels and tinkling bells. It seats up to four passengers in addition to the driver. The vehicle is pulled by a pony. Ponies also carry tourist’s luggage to and from the resorts on the island. And it’s the condition of these ponies that distresses many of the visitors to the island.

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The website tripadvisor.com has many reviews from tourists who have witnessed the ponies and voiced concerns over their condition. Some report that the ponies are only offered seawater to drink, have many sores from their harnesses, work long hours in the sun and heat and into the night, pull oversized loads, receive little veterinary care, and are whipped and otherwise abused. The life span of a Gili T horse is estimated to be much shorter than the normal 25 years of most domestic horses.

As it is for the human residents of this island, where tourism is the only large industry, life's a struggle for the ponies. A recent building boom means even more work for the ponies, hauling construction materials. This means more jobs and money for the residents, which is good, but not for the ponies.

While sadly, there will always be people who selfishly abuse animals, most seem to agree that the abuse taking place on Gili T, and other similar places is due to lack of education rather than outright cruelty. Gili Eco Trust is making an effort to help the ponies and their owners. Gili Eco Trust was created to preserve the natural beauty of the island’s resources and protect delicate coral reefs surrounding the shoreline. But, it has since expanded its efforts to include waste management, recycling and animal welfare. Gili Eco Trust has no problem with the fact that the ponies are used, but believe they are entitled to clean water, regular rest and proper veterinary and farrier care.

To this end, the Gili Eco Trust offers twice a month free clinics where owners can take ponies for veterinary treatment. They also offer education about the proper care of the ponies. There is also a mobile clinic that travels the small archipelago that Gili T is a part of. The clinic and efforts of the Gili Eco Trust is funded by donations. Donations might not go directly to the care of horses, but be divided amongst the various issues of the organization. Volunteers are also welcome.

Valkyrie   MOD 
What they should do is set up government funded water troughs/pumps at different points, so the ponies are getting fresh water if needed. Letting them drink saltwater is probably the only option their impoverished drivers can afford. Water pumps would also benefit people. Tourism companies could band together to get them set up, god knows they make enough money off tourists going there. Bali is a very popular destination for Australians and New Zealanders.

Feed is another story. It would be difficult to fund enough hay or hard feed to keep the ponies going. But at least if there are public watering options their drivers might be able to afford more feed.
  Sep 30, 2015  •  2,808 views
 
Winniefield Park  
Eco Trust is working on this. Oh to be a billion+ dollar philanthropist like Bill Gates!
  Oct 2, 2015  •  2,669 views
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