These days, animal lovers across Turkey are trying their best to make sure the country's street animals are properly fed amid a strict national lockdown to bring down COVID-19 case numbers.
People in many provinces have made contributions. Animal lovers in northwestern Edirne, where coronavirus cases are high, got special permission from the governorate to feed local animals.
Edirne locals also visited the Cavalry (NATO) bridge, which sits on the Meriç (Maritsa) river and is populated with stray dogs, to feed them.
“We are trying to feed these animals during such trying times. The lockdown period is especially hard for animals who struggle to find food and are often left hungry,” a local animal lover, Mürvet Taşvur, said.
“These dogs also need to be vaccinated against parasites. We can easily say that the pandemic has hit animals as much as it has humans,” she added.
Meanwhile, volunteers led by the Bursa Metropolitan Municipality have also intensified their efforts to feed animals.
According to a statement by the municipality, 130 tons of animal food has been distributed so far while 70 large “food-o-matic” devices, which distribute animal food automatically, 150 water sources and 400 kennels have been set up.
The municipality also said that over 4500 vaccinations, nearly 6500 treatments and 500 immediate treatments have also been carried out.
An animal lover living in Bursa, Ilknur Çalışkan said that she and her family are trying to feed the animals in rural areas. “Animals cannot say ‘I am hungry’ or ‘I am sick.’ They are especially having a hard time finding food during the pandemic. That’s why we take part in feeding efforts organized by the municipality,” she said.
Filiz Ayhan, a member of the Turkish Society for the Protection of Animals (THKD), underlined that there are too many abandoned animals that are in need of food. “There are so many of them, so not one single municipality can reach all of them. We must work altogether. I would like to thank our Metropolitan Municipality for their feeding efforts,” she added.
A full 17-day lockdown officially began on Thursday evening, but its impact was more evident on Friday when big cities were devoid of all the usual hubbub. In Istanbul, the country’s most populated metropolis, however, crowds were visible in the early hours of Friday morning, so much so, authorities had to add new metro services. Traffic jams were also reported on the city's usually busy roads. Snarls in traffic were mostly related to checkpoints set up by security forces across the city to check motorists for violations of the lockdown.