Animals Survive Dorian’s Wrath – With A Little Help

Animals Being Evacuated from the Bahamas.    Photo: IFAW

Hurricane Dorian’s ripple effects are still being felt – especially when it comes to the pets and wild animals that also found themselves in the path of the storm.  Our partners the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) are on the ground in the Bahamas and partnering with other key stakeholders helping to save the pets of residents who had to be evacuated.  We also heard from our partners at the Saint Simons Land Trust who evacuated last week, that the one remaining sea turtle nest on St. Simons Island, Georgia made it through the storm and was not washed out.  And in another interesting story, the Navy reported yesterday that it had sortied its warships and aircraft, ordered mandatory evacuations for personnel — and also for its sea mammal sentries.

Why This Matters:  Like all storms, Dorian was devastating for animals in addition to humans.  And they needed help too after the storm passed — just another aspect of the relief effort that often is overlooked.  There are a certain few NGOs trained to respond to natural disasters, but in an increasingly storm-prone world, we will likely need more of this capacity going forward.  This is just another way that we must upgrade our storm preparedness as a nation.  

IFAW Creates DAR

The IFAW team arrived on September 6 and partnered with key organizations to create DAR or Dorian Animal Relief. They arranged a plane to transport approximately 150 animals from the hardest-hit areas to the Halo animal shelter in Florida and the St. Hubert’s Center in New Jersey.  The Andrew Sabin Foundation paid for the flight.  But more help is needed for mobile veterinary units on the Bahamas.

Navy “Evacuates” Its Dolphins and Sea Lions

According to Navy Times, the Navy sent their specially trained bottlenose dolphins and sea lions from Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic in Kings Bay, Georgia, to a shelter at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Panama City, Florida.   These are specially trained animals — the sea lions and dolphins patrol for enemy frogmen, underwater robots or other suspicious activity in the waters near the strategic ballistic missile submarines.

Turtles Know How to Nest

As for the turtles, here is what our friends at SSLT reported to us:

  • Sea turtles have nesting strategies that accommodate for natural events like hurricanes and ensure that no season is a total loss. Nesting females deposit multiple nests during the season and generally hedge their bets – laying some high in the dunes and others low on the beach.
  • As we like to say, nesting mamas have been doing this for a lot longer than we have – millions of years, in fact – and they’re awfully good at it.
  • Unless you are listed on a marine turtle permit, you should not handle sea turtles or their eggs. If you see exposed eggs, strandings, washed back hatchlings, or any other activity, please message us here or call the Wildlife Resources Division – Georgia DNR hotline at 1-800-2-SAVE-ME.

And we are glad Raleigh and Stephanie evacuated and made it back home too!

What You Can Do:  If you want to help IFAW and DAR help these animals, click here.

A Navy sea lion being evacuated. Photo: Eddie Green, Navy

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