Philippines on alert over possible volcano eruption: animals left behind

PETA's rescue team is taking this severely dehydrated dog out of the evacuation zone. photo: PETA Asia
PETA's rescue team is taking this severely dehydrated dog out of the evacuation zone. photo: PETA Asia

Philippine authorities are on high alert since Sunday for a possible eruption of the Taal Volcano in Batangas. More than 40,00 people have been evacuated, but animals are left behind.

The Taal volcano has continued spewing lava and plumes of smoke. Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and other animal rights organizations are trying to help the horses, dogs and cows that are left behind in the danger zone.

“If you’ve left your animal companion at home and you’re still in the area, please do whatever you can to get them. We’re being bombarded with reports from guardians to rescue their animals and while we’re doing everything we can, we simply can’t reach everyone,” PETA Asia said in a Facebook post.

PAWS confirmed that pet dogs, cows and horses were left behind at places where people were evacuated. “The animals are tired, thirsty and very hungry,” their volunteers said.

Not allowed to bring pets
Citizens of Taal island are also concerned for the animals. The military doesn’t let people take their pets. They’re forced to leave them behind.

People are trying to get their pets to safety on their own. This woman got her dogs out of the danger zone on her motorcycle.

Her aunt said in the comment: “She is my niece. I didn’t recognize her at first. Actually, she escaped from her mom to come back to their house to rescue her pets. I got mad when I found out what she did because she put her life at risk for the sake of her pets.”

Authorities believe that all the animals who were in the area directly surrounding the volcano, died in the disaster. The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said animals would be brought to safe places after every human has been evacuated.

In the last 24 hours, the volcano has generated 500-meter-high lava fountains and 2-km smoke plumes, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOCS).

The Institute – which on Sunday raised the alert to level four on a scale of five – added that the volcano had caused 212 earthquakes, 81 of them of sufficient intensity to be felt, and that the ash emitted has covered several surrounding cities.

The alert implies that lava expulsions and an eruption were imminent and that there was a risk of a volcanic tsunami since Taal – one of the world’s smallest volcanoes – is located inside a lake.

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