For over a month, several dogs have been trapped on the island of La Palma, Spain with no escape. The Cumbre Vieja volcano has been erupting, spreading hot lava and volcanic ash to nearby areas. Sadly, it hasn’t shown any signs of stopping, and many families were forced to flee without their furry friends. Many dogs climbed to ash-covered roofs to escape the lava, but now they’re stranded.
Officials have found ways to drop dog food via drones, but it was only a temporary solution to a bigger problem. Now, they’ve finally found a way to rescue some of the most at-risk dogs.
Drones to the Rescue
Aerocamaras, a group of drone operators, recently gained permission to use massive drones to save three scrawny dogs trapped by the volcano. The pups have spent weeks alone in their abandoned yard, which is covered in volcanic ash. While drones have been feeding the dogs, the pups have eaten very little and need to be saved.
Jaime Pereira, the CEO of Aerocamaras, explained that they will use a 110-pound drone with a large net to capture the dogs and fly them to safety. They will need to scoop up the dogs in the net and fly them 1,476 feet. It’s a mission that will require extreme patience and focus.
“It’s the first time an animal is being rescued with a drone and the first time it has to be captured,” Pereira said. “If that’s the last option that the dogs have? Then we’re going after them.”
A Risky but Worthwhile Attempt
However, this drone rescue is a tedious process that will depend on how well the dogs cooperate. Drone operators only have a limited time to scoop up the dogs and move them across the lava. Once the drone arrives, it will have four minutes to lure a dog to the net and four minutes to carry them back.
“What we don’t want is to run out of battery when flying over the lava,” Pereira said.
Currently, operators are running test flights to ensure that the final rescue goes smoothly. Yet, they’re unsure how the dogs will react to the drone. They could come toward the net, but they could also be terrified of the unfamiliar machine. Their reactions will affect the results greatly.
It’s unclear how long the volcano will be active, so it’s crucial to get the dogs out of there as quickly as possible. These are just some of the many pets in La Palma that need rescuing. Many others are under the care of The Benawara Plant and Animal Protection Society for the time being.
If you live in the area, consider adopting or fostering one of the many homeless pets to open up more room in shelters. Otherwise, you can donate to make a difference.