Many animals rescued from Taal in poor health
LIPA CITY—Many of the animals rescued from the Taal Volcano Island are in poor health, according to a veterinarian who helped in the rescue effort.
Among the animals were 29 horses loaded on boats to move them out of harm’s way to Balete town, a 45-minute cross on Taal Lake just as the volcano’s main crater was acting up since Sunday (Jan. 12).
Farm animals that residents at the village of Calauit had been raising for a living but had to leave behind in their flight to safety had been checked by vets who volunteered for the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta).
They were ferried on trucks to Lipa City for a checkup with the vet office there.
A volunteer vet, Romy Madomo, said the horses had symptoms of pulmonary illness and eye irritation which were most likely caused by their long exposure to volcanic ash that has now blanketed the entire island.
“They will be placed under medication for those,” Madomo said in a phone interview from Balete town.
Calls for animal rescue mounted days following the eruption, with reports of dozens of horses, cattle, and pigs dying.
The New York Times, in a feature on the eruption, showed photos of dead horses and other animals covered in ash.
Some residents, despite government warning to keep off the danger zones, tried to return on boats evading coast guards and police to rescue whatever’s left of their livestock.
On Wednesday, three Peta members on an animal rescue mission to a community called Pulo were stranded for hours on the volcano island after they were left behind by a boat that they had used to rescue cattle belonging to some residents.
Anna Cabrera, of PAWS, said one of the rescuers called her up for help. The stranded volunteers were rescued and brought back to safety on the mainland in the afternoon.
Jose Antonio Leviste II, Batangas vice governor who witnessed the animal rescue, said protocols have to be strictly enforced to keep people away from the danger zone.
He said only soldiers, policemen or coast guard and government workers involved in relief or rescue missions should be allowed to cross the lake.
Edited by TSB
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