Update: January 31, 2020
PETA Asia rescuers were scouring the sides of Taal Volcano, continuing their rescue and relief efforts, when they heard whimpering coming from somewhere on the mountain. Following the cries, they found a dog hopelessly entangled in a vine—dehydrated, starving, and suffering from gangrene. Being careful not to injure him further, rescuers untangled the grateful pup, carried him down the mountain to the waiting rescue boat, and ferried him across the lake to waiting veterinarians.
Pedro—along with many other animals—likely would’ve died if not for PETA Asia’s rescue efforts. The alert level has been lowered surrounding the volcano, which means that rescuers can now climb up and down the mountain searching for more survivors.
People are being allowed to return to their homes, which helps, as they can resume caring for their own animals. But many more homeless animals and those whose families haven’t returned still need help. The rescuers will keep working until every last one is safe.
Supplies such as food, plastic containers, collars, leashes, and face masks are still needed, as are locals who can adopt or foster animals. The PETA Asia team is also in need of monetary donations to help offset the cost of medical care for animals like Pedro. If you can help with any of these needs, please follow the links below.
Updated on January 24, 2020:
So far, PETA Asia rescuers have saved 132 animals—including dogs, cats, pigs, chickens, goats, ducks, horses, herons, and doves—from ground zero on the island surrounding Taal Volcano.
Because of the falling ash, almost all of them have eye problems requiring medical care, which veterinarians are working to provide. PETA Asia has several foster homes lined up, and many of the animals have already been adopted, including a very deserving pup: Palakitik.
PETA Asia staffers have known Palakitik for years, as they’ve traveled to Taal Island to provide the horses used to haul tourists up and down the mountain with free veterinary care. She adores her PETA Asia friends and stuck close to them whenever they visited. After the volcano erupted, no one was sure if the gentle dog had survived—until, that is, they took a boat to the island, stepped onto the shore, and called out her name. Everyone fought back tears as, through the clouds of smoke and ash, she came running to them.
Now this loving girl will spend the rest of her life being cared for by one of her rescuers, who couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing her again.
The rescue team is also still working to help animals in the evacuation zone. On Thursday morning, the government implemented a ban on trips into the area as well as to Taal Island by rescuers. But as PETA Asia Senior Vice President Jason Baker put it, “We’re PETA, so ‘no’ means ‘try harder.’ We found some military folks to take us in.” The team distributed nearly 700 pounds of dog food along with fresh water to the dogs trapped in backyards and abandoned homes. They used the same tactic to get there today, even though the ban is still in place. And they’ll continue trying to find a way around the ban to get back onto Taal Island to rescue more animals still trapped there.
“We’ve also been working around-the-clock to leave food and water for the abandoned animals in the evacuated zone,” PETA also said, referring to the 14-kilometer radius danger zone surrounding the Taal Lake. https://t.co/HOBSj9n2SY
— Philstar.com (@PhilstarNews) January 24, 2020
Staffers and volunteers are doing their best, but they could use much more help—both in the field and at the PETA Asia office, handling calls about animals who need help, taking in donations, organizing supplies, and more. The elevator in the building frequently breaks down, leaving employees to haul 40-pound bags of food up and down stairs. Anyone in the area who can volunteer some time is encouraged to go to the office at Makati.
PETA's been giving food & water to thousands of abandoned animals in the evacuation zone (the 14km radius around the volcano) since #TaalVolcano erupted, & today was no different. New restrictions meant there was no way we could access Taal island today – but we're working on it. pic.twitter.com/hngafo06lK
— PETA Asia (@PETAAsia) January 23, 2020
Donations of food, plastic containers to leave filled for the animals, and other supplies as well as funds to help the relief effort are also urgently needed and would be much appreciated.
Updated on January 22, 2020:
PETA Asia rescuers are getting animals off Taal Island—as Taal Volcano threatens to erupt again—one boatload at a time. They are the only group still crossing Taal Lake to reach the island, and they must continue to do so, as there are still many abandoned animals there in need of help.
Other rescue groups and volunteers have pitched in to help in the evacuation zone as the team brings animals back to the mainland. Veterinary teams there are treating the animals, and many local residents are offering to foster and adopt them.
— PETA Asia (@PETAAsia) January 20, 2020
— PETA Asia (@PETAAsia) January 18, 2020
Rescuers are in desperate need of carriers to transport animals, people with vehicles to help move cages and supplies, and more volunteers to work in the evacuation zone. Every dollar that’s donated to the rescue effort also helps PETA Asia save more animals.
Learn more about PETA Asia’s Taal Volcano rescue efforts on The PETA Podcast:
Updated January 17, 2020:
PETA Asia’s team is making daily trips to the volcano to rescue every animal it can. Today they were able to bring back 21 more, including dogs, chickens, a heron, and even some of the horses. Thank you to everyone who has donated to make this ongoing relief effort possible.
— PETA Asia (@PETAAsia) January 17, 2020
Updated January 16, 2020:
A new video from Taal Island shows the devastation caused by the Taal Volcano eruption—but also the many animals who fortunately survived. After the initial explosion of ash and lava, local authorities reported that all animals on the island had likely died. PETA Asia rescuers insisted on getting onto Taal Island to search for survivors and found many scared animals in need of help.
Rescuers are making trips to the island as often as the government will allow between ongoing eruptions. Many of the surviving dogs are so terrified that catching them has been challenging.
Team members are bringing back as many animals as possible on each trip and leaving food and clean water to sustain the others until they return. They’re also working on a plan for the horses there.
Today, PETA Asia evacuated 13 animals, including dogs, a chicken, and a duck, from the island. All of them, along with four other animals rescued from the island and many from the evacuation zone, are receiving veterinary care. And in the wake of the disaster, many people have stepped up to offer to foster or adopt them.
In an outpouring of support, volunteers have also been helping in the evacuation zone, giving food and water to displaced animals there. And PETA Asia has had a near-constant stream of donations of food, water, leashes, collars, bowls, and other supplies dropped off by caring individuals. In a donation drive organized by major retailer Lazada, 200 people purchased dog food in just one day.
Just some of the donations we’ve received at our office in Makati! THANK YOU to everyone who has donated – whether it’s food, leashes, masks, or money! They are all greatly appreciated and help our efforts to rescue, treat, and feed animals affected by the Taal volcano eruptions. pic.twitter.com/8faNKWAnIS
— PETA Asia (@PETAAsia) January 16, 2020
The relief effort will go on for several weeks. Anyone can help the animals affected by the Taal Volcano eruption by making a donation, however small, at the link below.
Updated January 15, 2020:
It was a day of successes and setbacks for PETA Asia’s rescue team.
PETA Asia was the first charity to reach Taal Island, which is covered with dead animals and reeks of decomposing flesh. But among all this death, there are also survivors—scared dogs, horses, cows, and other animals—and they’re in desperate need of help. The rescue team is doing everything that it can to evacuate animals from the island for urgently needed veterinary care.
The team has already rescued some—and it won’t stop working until everyone is safe.
One of the animals rescued today was a sweet dog named Palakitik. PETA Asia has known her for years from running clinics on the island to provide hundreds of working horses with basic veterinary care. Whenever their boats arrive, staff members call for Palakitik, and she always excitedly scampers up to greet them and follow them everywhere.
When the rescue team members finally stepped onto Taal Island today, they called out to her, not knowing whether she was dead or alive. To their amazement and relief, she came running up through the ash, overjoyed to see friendly faces!
They gave her food and water, showered her with affection, and took her safely off the island to receive veterinary care. Tonight, Palakitik will sleep on a soft bed, and she’ll be taken care of for the rest of her life.
There are other animals on the island. They’re scared, and they need saving. PETA Asia’s rescue team members were only allowed to be on the island for a short time, but it was long enough to put down food and clean water and rescue some animals. They don’t know when they’ll be permitted to go back, but they’re working with the Filipino government.
They’ll continue to provide animals in the evacuation zone with food and clean water, but they’re in need of donations of dog and cat food. Donations can be dropped off at PETA Asia’s office in Makati.
The Filipino military won’t evacuate humans with their animal companions, so the team is also asking people who own vehicles and are willing to help evacuate those who need to take animals with them to post in this Facebook group.
And everyone outside the area can help by donating to PETA Asia’s Taal Volcano animal relief effort.
Originally published on January 13, 2020:
As Taal Volcano continues to spew ash into the air and send lava streaming down its sides, PETA Asia is working to help as many animals as possible.
#TaalVolcano is erupting. PETA’s animal rescue team is on the ground, providing food and basic veterinary care to…
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…
Plea from PETA to the Philippines Army @hukbongkatihan: Please allow evacuees to evacuate with their companion animals. People are more likely to evacuate if they can bring their companion animals with them!
— PETA Asia (@PETAAsia) January 13, 2020
What makes Taal Volcano especially dangerous is its location. It’s part of a small piece of land in the middle of Taal Lake on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, just south of Manila in an area that’s home to nearly half a million people and many animals. Everyone living in the area has been ordered to evacuate, and countless animal companions were left behind, many because their families were not allowed to bring them. They face the danger of falling ash and further eruptions as they struggle to survive.
PETA Asia rescuers are in the evacuation zone surrounding the lake giving food, water, and veterinary care to dogs and cats who’ve been abandoned or taken to evacuation centers. They will continue caring for these animals until they can be reunited with their owners or placed in safe shelters.
PETA has been working restlessly to help animals affected by the #TaalVolcano eruptions. We're trying to get onto the island, & are giving water & food to animals inside the evacuation zone. The dogs in the video are two of the many animals abandoned inside the evacuation zone ☹ pic.twitter.com/cmXKssgjKU
— PETA Asia (@PETAAsia) January 13, 2020
Rescue teams are asking people near the area to donate cat and dog food, leashes, collars, face masks, medical supplies, and anything else that may be helpful. Donations can be dropped off at this address.
Rescue teams are also trying to gain access to the area immediately surrounding Taal Volcano but are being blocked by authorities because of the dangerous nature of the situation, including the chance of an “explosive eruption,” in which magma is spewed into the sky. It’s possible that this will happen within the upcoming hours or days. A volcanic tsunami in Taal Lake is also possible.
Authorities believe that all the animals who were in the area immediately surrounding the volcano likely died in the disaster. It’s an especially painful possibility for PETA Asia staffers, who had been working for years to improve conditions for the horses forced to carry tourists up the volcano. They knew each one by name.
Rescuers have obtained a telescope to look for survivors and will continue trying to gain access to Taal Volcano in order to rescue any horses or other animals trapped there. People living outside the Philippines can help by donating to the animal relief effort, which will likely go on for several more days or weeks.