SANTA CRUZ DE LA PALMA – One of the most viral images of the eruption of the Cumbre-Vieja volcano on La Palma, apart from the lava rivers, the new delta, and the buried residential areas, is that of four dogs trapped surrounded by lava in Todoque.
The podencos were kept alive by two drone companies. They brought food and water daily to keep them from starving and drying out. A third drone company from Galicia launched a unique rescue mission to free the dogs from their plight. We wrote about it here. The only hurdle to overcome was getting permission from the authorities to transport live animals by drone and into the rescue drone area.
On Wednesday, that permission was finally granted by the Cabildo de La Palma and the Volcanic Emergency Plan of the Canary Islands (Pevolca). This allowed the company Aerocamaras to start rescuing the dogs with drones. However, the situation is not going as expected.
No trace of the dogs
All day yesterday, they searched the area where they have been seen for the past few weeks. Tech cameras and even loudspeakers were used, however, there was no trace of the four dogs. “It is very hot there and they may be under bushes or in the buildings in their islets to protect themselves from the sun and heat from the neighbouring lava,” explained Jaime Pereira, head of Areocamaras. Together with the animal rights platform Leales , Pereira has organised the rescue of the animals. It is also possible that the animals have died as a result of continuous exposure to high temperatures.
Aerocamaras staff will continue to monitor the islet until 10.00 pm. And if the dogs don’t show up all day they will arrange permits to continue for the next few days. However, the CEO of Aerocamaras, Jaime Pereira, is hopeful that from 6.00 pm to 7.00 pm today when temperatures will drop, with the help of thermal cameras and another 30 magnification camera, the animals can be detected.
Locate and rescue
“We go on. We have 80 batteries, a generator, we brought all the equipment, the rescue drone, the network, and a lot of staff who help us like vets,” Pereira noted. His people are even looking for prints in an attempt to locate the animals so they can free them. “We’ll stay here until we find them and we can get them out. Therefore, as soon as we see one, we’ll rescue them,” he said.
The CEO of Aerocamaras is surprised that the animals do not come out when they see or hear the drone, as they should be used to it and by now know that there will be food and drink. With a similar device, food and water were brought to them daily.
Pereira stressed that, following the tests carried out this Tuesday, the teams and professionals are “willing” to carry out the rescue “at any time” within the risk it poses, as the operation is “difficult”.
As he explained, the drone pilot is located about 500-600 metres from the dogs on a hill. This gives him a good view of the area. However, the conditions are difficult for the drones to take off and land. “But we are happy because we are here and have permission to continue our work”. said Pereira.