Rescuing animals during disasters – EuropeSave human lives by saving animals before, during and after disasters
(Paris, 13 November 2023) – Storms Céline, Ciaran, Domingos, and depression Elisa have hit France successively since the end of October. Record winds and severe flooding have displaced, injured and killed many farm animals and wildlife. IFAW is rushing emergency aid to wildlife rescue centers and other animal organizations in France.
“The storms unleashed heavy downpours and strong winds that swept birds out of the skies, lashed the land – displacing thousands of farm animals, and swamped wildlife burrowing underground,” says Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, program director for IFAW’s disaster response and risk reduction work in Europe.
“Animals are often the forgotten victims in times of crisis. We have no way of knowing how many animals have been impacted, but we know that we want to help as many of them as possible, so we are doing all we can.”
The storms coincided with the critical time that thousands of migratory birds were heading to Western Africa, such as the European storm petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus) – the smallest seabird in Europe.
This caused many strandings on Western shores in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, as birds became exhausted from the strong winds. IFAW is supporting the feed, care and veterinary treatment for close to 40 sea birds that are being treated at the Centre Vétérinaire de la Faune Sauvage et des Écosystèmes (CVFSE), a veterinary center for wildlife in Nantes.
At SOS Tortue Bretagne, a turtle and tortoise rescue center, enormous gusts of wind caused roof sheets to become undone and crash into the center, damaging the animal enclosures. IFAW is supporting the purchase of 15 to 20 new enclosures to ensure the animals have a safe place, sheltered from the relentless wind and rain.
The impact on farm animals, and the farmers who depend on them for their livelihoods, is also very severe. Many animals have already drowned or suffered hypothermia after their enclosures were flooded. At Le Parc Pédagogique Nature du Marais, they home and care for abandoned backyard farm animals. IFAW is providing them with a grant to purchase wooden houses that will shelter for 40 displaced Ouessant sheep.
- Like people, animals face increasing destruction and devastation from wildfires, floods, droughts and war. Yet animals are often forgotten and are not currently included in the European Union’s (EU) disaster management plans. IFAW calls for animal welfare to be included in prevention, preparedness and disaster response policy and financing across Europe, and has launched a petition asking the EU and its Member States to ensure animals are protected in times of crisis: https://action.ifaw.org/page/136897/action/1
- IFAW also has resources to help people prepare their pets or help wildlife before and during disasters: https://www.ifaw.org/uk/campaigns/disaster-awareness-resources
+31 6 3900 8592
Every problem has a solution, every solution needs support.
The problems we face are urgent, complicated and resistant to change. Real solutions demand creativity, hard work and involvement from people like you.