May 3, 2006
The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is preparing to evacuate thousands of animals ahead of a volcanic eruption on the Indonesian Island of Java.
Operating through two of its member societies, ProFauna Indonesia and Yayasan Yudisthria, WSPA is poised to move 6,000 cattle and 500 goats to safety on government land that is approximately five miles from the summit of Mount Merapi.
This proactive move will have a considerable impact on the welfare of these animals, and also demonstrates the strength and importance of the WSPA's member society network, which is able to respond in advance of a crisis.
Mark Yates, WSPA's Disaster Management Director, said: “By planning an evacuation in coordination with the local government, the death and destruction of livestock witnessed in 1994 when Mount Merapi last erupted should be avoided. This will have a hugely positive impact on the local economy and speed up the recovery program if the volcano does erupt.”
He added: “The current WSPA intervention on the Indonesian Island of Java clearly demonstrates the emerging need for well developed preparedness measures when dealing with potential disasters, not only for humans but for the animals on which they rely for their food and livelihoods.”
After the tsunami just over a year ago, the Indonesian government moved to improve its disaster preparedness and allocated emergency funds to set up camps for the potential evacuation of some 29,000 people.
To support this effort, WSPA, along with its member societies the Humane Society International (HSI) and RSPCA International, has released funds to transport the animals to safety, set up temporary shelters and provide veterinary treatment and fodder until it is deemed safe to return them.