20th Oct 2021 @ 9:08 am

A team of drone specialists was yesterday granted permission to attempt to rescue four dogs that have been trapped by lava flows on La Palma.

The Canarian Volcanic Risk Prevention Plan (PEVOLCA) has granted permission to the Aerocamaras company, from Pontevedra in Galicia, northern Spain, to mount a complicated rescue operation that could save four podencos (Canarian hunting dogs) trapped on the rooftops of buildings that have been cut off by lava flows in the area of Todoque. 

Four dogs have been detected on two rooftops (another appears to have already died) and local drone operators have already managed to deliver food and water to the animals using drones that can carry weights of up to 5 kilogrammes.

The dogs already recognise these drones, and have greeted the airdropped supplies with hungry enthusiasm, but time is still of the essence as three of the dogs are on a rooftop with no shelter on a building that is still threatened by the advance of the lava.

Jaime Perera of Aerocamaras has explained that the company’s drones are able to carry loads of up to 24 kilogrammes, and that the plan is to use them to lay large nets on the rooftops that will be baited for the dogs. Once the dog is in position, the net will be hoisted into the air, hopefully airlifting the animal to safety.

Last night, Perera and his team announced that they were tired after a long journey from Galicia, but had arrived at the Advanced Command Post near the volcano and had been carrying out preliminary tests of equipment for an operation that would be “complicated”.   

The local animal protection association Leales.org, who originally contacted Aerocamaras for assistance, had offered to fund the rescue. However, Aerocamaras have said they will not invoice Leales.org for their services.

A fundraising page set up by Leales.org originally dedicated to raising funds for the rescue will now use the donations to support the many other animals that have been affected by the eruption. The site can be reached at www.gofundme.com/rescate-por-dron-a-los-perros-del-volcan.

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