We're on the ground helping animals affected by Amazon wildfires

11 September 2019

Our team is on the ground working with local authorities and rescue centres to urgently help some of the world’s most iconic animals who continue to be at grave risk as fires blaze across the Amazon. We estimate that millions of wild, even endangered animals are being killed, affected or suffering.

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We’re one of the only charities working with local partners to protect every animal we can find. They need life-saving food, treatment and shelter, and plans must be put in place to stop further destruction. Right now, we’re trying our best to work alongside the government to do more.

A fire burns close to a residence as World Animal Protection veterinarian DLO (Disaster Liason Officer) Moira Ansolch helps the owners of the house to evacuate their animals. Credit Line: Noelly Castro/World Animal Protection

We are with a team of veterinarians and CETAS in Rio Branco (Acre state) moving towards other affected states to immediately assist the animals with the following urgent relief actions:

  • An immediate assessment by visiting CETAS (Wildlife Triage Centres) that have agencies in the affected states.
  • Providing training & equipment for the rescue of surviving wild animals by the fire fighters working in the fires
  • Assisting animals injured and meeting their basic needs for survival
  • Providing emergency vet kit items for animals in disaster zones, such as dressings and treatment for wounded animals, treatment of diarrhoea, pneumonia and other diseases
  • Providing assistance to the rehabilitation and eventual release of animals ready to return to the wild
  • Assessing the wider and longer-term needs for the animals in partnership with local NGOs and government agencies.

Gerardo Huertas, Global Animals in Disasters Director at World Animal Protection says: “Our hearts go out to the people and animals affected - we are on the ground providing assistance and witnessing first-hand the helpless animals in urgent need of relief, water, food and medicine."

An injured snake from the fire zone was given to World Animal Protection. World Animal Protection vets delivered the injured snake to CETAS, a local centre for rescued animals. The female snake is recovering well and will be released within two days to a safe zone. Credit Line: Noelly Castro/World Animal Protection

"Tackling the fires where possible must also be concurrent to an absolute ban on setting news ones – something even the national government of Brazil has called for. The Amazon acts as the lungs of the world – if the environment suffers, then so do the animals — often the forgotten victims in disasters."

While disaster response rightly prioritizes people’s immediate needs, wild animals in the Amazon – an estimated 10% of the total biodiversity on the planet – are currently the forgotten victims, that also need urgent care.

The recent fire in the Amazon is a result of a new political position in the Brazil federal government that has led to weakening of environmental laws, deforestation, illegal fires and lack of monitoring and control. Urgent action is needed by the government to stop this disaster before it reaches a point of no return.

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