Rescuing burnt and injured animals in the Philippines after Mayon Volcano eruption

31 January 2018

The Philippines’s most active volcano, Mount Mayon, started erupting earlier this month. The disaster has left thousands of animals in danger, so we’re rescuing and treating as many as we can

Mount Mayon is erupting right now. The government has called for an immediate evacuation of people within a five-mile radius. But sadly, animals were not part of the evacuation plan and they need our help. 

Farm animals and pets are suffering from burns and other injuries as a result of inhaling or ingesting ash.

A young calf is covered in brown volcanic ash

Our disaster liaison officer Dr May Christine Espiritus and her team are in the Philippines’ Bicol region, coordinating aid and treating animals. 

Reporting from the field, Dr May describes the situation from just one day during the deployment:

"We evacuated a total of 215 animals and treated some sick animals, giving them vitamins to fight diseases caused by the stress of this disaster."

Dr May in a field with cows near Mount Mayon

Dangerous ash 

Dr May described the need to rescue animals in areas where volcanic ash falls frequently: "The animals in these areas are facing great danger, lacking food because the grass can’t be eaten. Ingesting grass with ash is very dangerous for the health of the animals."

She also explained that when the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture started providing concentrated feed for the animals, they were not eating it. The animals prefer eating grass, so were trying to eat the grass that had volcanic ash on it. 

Dr May’s solution for this problem was to add molasses, a type of sugar, to the concentrated feed to make it more palatable for the animals. 

Our work is vital 

The Provincial Veterinary Office doesn’t have the funds to rescue and evacuate animals. 

"The assistance we receive from World Animal Protection is therefore critical to save these animals," said Dr May. 

Mount Mayon erupting

What’s next? 

Dr May and her team are coordinating directly with the Provincial Veterinary Office on a plan to rescue animals that are still in the danger zone. 

Through our relief work, we’ll treat injured animals and provide medication to fight infections and diseases. 

This aid is vital for nearly 2,000 cows, buffaloes, dogs and other pets affected by the Mayon Volcano eruptions. 

It's thanks to our generous supporters that we are able to act quickly to help animals affected in disaster zones. 

Subscribe to our email updates today to receive information about the work we do to protect animals around the world, and how you can help. 

Images: World Animal Protection / Jeremias Espiritu

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