Dogs trapped by the La Palma volcano lava await rescue via drones – ’15 days’ without food

La Palma: Volcano erupts and lava flows on Spanish island

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Weeks after it first erupted on 19 September, the Spanish Cumbre Vieja volcano in La Palma shows no signs of stopping. After the entire neighbourhood of Todoque disappeared from the map under lava and ash, authorities who use drones to monitor the situation realised a number of dogs were trapped on a small patch of land surrounded by lava.

Only a small island of a few square meters remains free of magma.

In one such place, a total of six dogs have survived but remain prisoners to the magma, according to the animal charity Leales.org.

“We were given a tip that there was a possible cat in an empty pond,” Eduardo Argolla, from Volcanic Life, told 20Minutos.

“We got the coordinates of the site and I made a [drone] flight in the area to look for the supposed cat.

“In the end, we saw that there was not a cat, but that there were some dogs.

“At that time an operation began.

“We knew that they were isolated by lava and that they spent 10 to 15 days without eating nor drinking.

“At that moment the urgency was to feed and hydrate them.”

Volcanic Life and Ticom Soluciones SL, have been feeding the animals using drones for several days.

Drones are the only viable way for a possible rescue as the use of helicopters is unfeasible due to the materials (ash, pyroclasts) released by the volcano.

Access by land is also complicated due to the surrounding ash and lava.

An “against the clock” rescue proposal has been drafted by The Aerocamaras company to save four dogs who have been staying in the El Paraíso neighbourhood.

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According to their proposal, which is awaiting approval from the relevant services, they would use a cargo drone that would transport their own logistics system adapted to the characteristics of the animals.

Together with another support drone, the pilot in charge of the operation could safely plan the rescue flight.

The animal charity Leales.org has pointed out that two of the dogs found shelter in a pond that they can leave and enter when they please — which allows them to shelter from the heat and cold.

However, two other dogs, in a smaller pond, are in the sun and without the possibility of shelter.

For this reason, the animal organisation has proposed the sending of a small shelter for their protection, since during the day they are exposed to the sun and at night they have nowhere to shelter from the cold.

“They are not in danger where they are, said Mr Argolla.

“They are given what they need to eat and drink, so at this time they are not in danger.

“We are going to keep fighting for them, for us the most important thing is that the animals are well.”

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