An introduction to Tunisia


Read more about SPANA’s work in Tunisia

SPANA Tunisia director Dr Mzabi with brown working donkeyDr Mzabi is our country director in Tunisia. He studied to be a vet at the National School of Veterinary Medicine in Paris. He says that when he started working for SPANA his hair used to be all brown but is now completely grey! He has worked for SPANA for 30 years.

What is it like working for SPANA in Tunisia?
Working with SPANA is fantastic. We save a lot of animals with the veterinary treatment that we provide and we also manage to reduce the suffering of many other animals with the advice we give to each owner and the education programme for children.

What is the best thing about your job?
The best part of my job is when I work in a happy, productive atmosphere with the veterinary team. We all work together to do as much as we possibly can for each animal and we all make sure we work with a smile!

What has been a memorable experience whilst working for SPANA?
As I have such a long history with SPANA there have been many memorable events, but the most important, exciting and touching ones are when an animal seems like it may be beyond saving but we manage to bring the animal back to full health. There are two good examples of this the first was the day I found a mule that had a very damaged tongue, we were worried it would not be able to eat but after a careful operation it was eating again just a few days later. The other story is about a horse we found that had been in accident with a truck; it had damaged its neck and chest. The owner thought it would be better to just put the horse down but we decided we could save it and I looked after that horse for two months. I’m pleased to say it made a full recovery!

What is your favourite thing about Tunisia?
I love the camels and donkeys that we have here. I think they are both very beautiful and elegant. Being able to save these amazing animals gives me great satisfaction, as does knowing that we are helping their owners who can be very poor.

All about Tunisia

Three working camels in Tunisia resting on the sandTunisia is in North Africa. It is officially known as the Tunisian Republic. Tunisia is the northern most country in Africa and shares borders with Algeria and Libya. It has coastline along the Mediterranean Sea.

Tunisia has a population of just under 10.7 million people. The official language is Arabic but other languages include Berber and French. The word’ Tunisia’ actually comes from ‘Tunis’ which is the capital city.

The south of Tunisia is mostly desert and merges in to the Sahara but in the north there are mountainous regions such as the Atlas mountains. The summer is generally hot and dry whereas the winter is milder and wetter.

Away from the city areas and main tourist destinations, people tend to rely on animals to move around as public transport either does not exist or is not reliable. Camels in particular are a popular choice for many people trying to travel around the south of the country. Horses are also used here as well as mules.

A special grass is grown in Tunisia called ‘halfa’. It is a very tough plant that is used to make paper, especially for artists or to print money on. As it grows freely people cut the grass to sell and make some money for their families. Donkeys carry this grass to local weighing stations with their owners.


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