Drought, bushfires and climate change are threatening our wildlife
Protecting wildlife from harm
The world’s attention turned to Australia in the spring of 2019 as catastrophic fires tore through the country. The fires raged over the ensuing months in what’s come to be known as the ‘Black Summer’ and lives, properties and billions of animals were lost in the most horrific bushfire conditions.
During the worst of it, HSI Australia’s CEO, Erica Martin, and Evan Quartermain, Head of Programs, made a deployment to Kangaroo Island along with international experts from HSI global. The devastation was immense.
“Those were some of the toughest scenes I’d ever witnessed as an animal rescuer: the bodies of charred animals as far as the eye can see. Every time we found an animal alive it felt like a miracle.” -Evan Quartermain
As a result of our first-hand experiences on Kangaroo Island, we commissioned an independent report to review the rescue and care of wildlife by organisations and individuals in the bushfires. The aim of the report was to review disaster response across the country for wildlife so we can improve on preparedness for all future events, be it fire, flood or cyclone.
Unfortunately, because of the impacts of climate change, we know that we are going to face an increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters like the Black Summer fires, floods and cyclones. Humane Society International has decades of experience in emergency search and rescue for animals impacted by natural and catastrophic disasters. Our work stretches beyond Australia to assist animals when disaster strikes.
Rescuing amid the rubble in Nepal
We were there in 2015 when earthquakes shattered so many fragile mountain towns of Nepal. Our teams helped rescue livestock from beneath the rubble and provide treatment to help heal the terrible wounds. In one village our team encountered Mrs Purnima Tamang sheltering in what was left of her home with her eight goats. Our team was able to treat her goats and assist with vital food and shelter.
“Call them what you want—my property, my family, my friends—they are all I have left.” -Mrs Purnima Tamang
Saving family pets in Lebanon
After the 2020 Beirut explosion, our international disaster team was quickly on the scene. They worked with Animals Lebanon to scour the blast zone to rescue dogs and cats and when possible to reunite them with their owners. Many of the animals were injured and in dire need of medical help. In some cases, their owners were unable to take them immediately because they were injured and have lost their homes, so it is such a relief for them to know their beloved pets are getting cared for as well.
Salvaging survivors in Mozambique
In 2019, we hit the ground in Mozambique after Cyclone Idai—the worst tropical cyclone ever experienced in Africa—devastated the country. The team treated pigs, goats and puppies helping them get back on their feet and preventing disease outbreaks. Our team also heard heartbreaking stories, including one farmer who watched hopelessly as two sons were swept away. Despite his monumental grief, he still expressed gratitude for our team’s help with his calf which had miraculously survived.
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