People Are Rushing To Save Thousands Of Animals Before This Volcano Erupts

“Every member of the team is risking their lives to save these animals.”

The volcano could erupt at any moment — but animal lovers are going into the danger zone, risking their lives to help as many animals as they can.

Last week, the Indonesian government issued a dire warning to the island of Bali — Mount Agung, an active volcano, could erupt for the first time in 50 years, spreading lava across a 7.5-mile radius from its crater. Since then, more than 48,000 people have been evacuated from the area and moved to temporary camps and public buildings on other parts of the island.

People feeding puppies left behind in volcano evacuation
Animal rescuers feeding abandoned puppies in the evacuation zone for the volcano eruption | JAAN

Unfortunately, many animals were left behind.

“People being moved to emergency accommodation situations were told they can't take their dogs,” Ebony Owens, director at Bali Dog Adoption and Rehabilitation Centre (BARC), told The Dodo. “A lot of people are saying they were forced to [leave them].”

Mount Agung in Bali
Mount Agung in Bali, Indonesia | Shutterstock

Animal rescuers are doing everything they can to help these abandoned animals, which include dogs, cats, cows, birds and goats. Team members from BARC, Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN), the Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) and Animals Indonesia are working together to rescue and relocate as many animals as they can.

Woman helping abandoned dog

“We have been inundated for requests to help pets and livestock,” Owens said. “We are relocating animals to safer ground when we can, and rescuing the injured and those in the greatest danger. The team are helping hundreds of animals a day but there are still many more in need of help.”

Woman with her dogs on truck
A local woman who refused to leave without her dogs, who are now in the care of BARC | BARC

Many animals are being housed in foster homes and temporary shelters, Femke Den Haas, founder of JAAN, told The Dodo. 

Animal rescue team in Bali

But unfortunately, rescuers can’t relocate every animal they find, simply because there isn’t enough space. Sometimes, the most the rescuers can do is give the abandoned animals food and water, and hope they escape the danger on their own.

Abandoned cat eating food

Owens explained that they’re also releasing dogs from chains and letting birds out of cages so they have a chance to get away from the volcano.

Woman helping caged birds
Den Haas releasing caged birds in the evacuation zone | JAAN

“The hardest part is having to leave animals behind after feeding them, not knowing if we will see them again,” Den Haas said. “We can’t know when the volcano will erupt, but it’s at its highest level.”

Despite the huge danger, animal rescuers continue to go into the evacuation zone to help animals.

Rescuer feeding abandoned dog

“Every member of the team is risking their lives to save these animals,” Owens said. “BARC is proud to work with such an amazing team of human beings.”

“The whole team is inspiring,” Den Haas added. “Many only have motorbikes to go down.”

Rescuers on a motorbike
Animal rescuers riding into the evacuation zone on a motorbike | JAAN

But the hardest part is yet to come, according to Owens.

“After the eruption, there will be hundreds of animals injured and in need of vet care and a safe place,” Owens said. “At BARC, we are working around the clock to prepare extra areas, and are gathering medical supplies and teams of emergency carers.”

To help animals who will be affected by the volcano eruption, you can make donations to BARC and to JAAN.