IFAW-GAAP rescues horses in Chile Wildfires

Chile Fire

IFAW and Global Alliance for Animals and People (GAAP) is on the ground in Chile, rescuing injured animals from the wildfires.  The team sends updates on how rescue efforts are going after the last animal is tucked in for the night.

IFAW-GAAP is on the ground, rescuing animals injured in the Chile wildfires. The team was asked to rescue, shelter and provide emergency medical care to animals in need. The first day we arrived on the ground, we met with other teams onsite and established our base camp.  After we received our first rescue assignment, we rushed into the field. After assessing the horse, it was clear about 25% of her body was covered in burns. Fortunately, a team of equine vets and caregivers were nearby and ready to give her medical attention. 

The landscape near our temporary sheltering site is still green, but smoke and a few burned areas can be seen behind where we are working. Fortunately, there is no immediate threat of fire near us but we are ready to act if the winds do change the threat.

Another horse here at the temporary shelter was restless throughout the day, with his heartbeat going up and down, we were worried about his condition. He had severe burns and we needed to find out what was causing his restlessness. If it was serious, we would send him to an offsite equine clinics who graciously offered their services to our team.. We collected a blood sample from him and rushed it to a nearby clinic for testing. After the test results came back, we decided to take him to the offsite clinic for 24 hour treatment and monitoring which meant a long drive with a very sick animal in our hands…but he is recovering well thanks to everyone’s hard work.  

Amazingly, so many people have come out to volunteer. We’ve heard reports of roads being almost saturated with local people in vehicles traveling to the affected areas to offer help or donate much-needed food to animals. Today we picked up 40 bales of hay donated by people living nearby who just wanted to help in whatever way they could.

But, there is still a great need for emergency medical supplies, temporary corrals and fencing materials.

People are very moved by this tragedy and have come together with a willingness to help. Many who see us on the road with the animal rescue trailer honk in support and cheer at us.

Later the same day, around 11:30pm, we received more horses. This time, a big truck came to the temporary sheltering site with six horses from Santa Olga (the community that was entirely burnt down by one of the fires last week). Most of the horses had severe burns.  We could see that one of the young horses was really attached to another horse. We thought it was his mother. Sadly, it was not. Apparently, his mother died in the fire and the little guy attached himself to one of the mares.

Every day brings us new animals to rescue and our team is working tirelessly to help as many animals as possible. The fires show no evidence of slowing down and we will continue to help animals injured by the flames.

Be on the lookout for our next update in the days to come! As always, we are grateful for your well wishes and unwavering support.


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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy