This morning, I've edited and updated this diary after seeing this story: "Tsunami Could Make Turtle Species Extinct," and I realized the importance of sharing with you, again, the links below to the World Turtle Trust and Seaturtle.org's Tsunami fund. [PHOTO: A hawksbill sea turtle, hunted almost to extinction for its spectacular shell.]
Please share with your friends and family the links in the section below, THE HELPING GROUPS -- THEY NEED YOUR SUPPORT. We can perhaps save these turtles from extinction.
I'd also like to draw your attention -- which I failed to do yesterday -- to the economic benefit of Humane Society International's work (HSI's Asian tsunami disaster fund).
HSI is helping subsistence farmers save their livestock so that they can continue to make a living. (See quote below the fold with photo of HSI's Asian director Sherry Grant.)
So I searched for groups that are on site in the tsunami areas, and are actively helping orphaned pets, farm animals, and wildlife.
This diary is devoted to what I discovered about:
- the plight of endangered wildlife
- the plight of many animals
- groups that are helping, and how you can help too. See donation links below.
Don't miss the story of the baby hippo below. There's even a rebuke for the fundamentalists saying the tsunami is God's punishment:
Of note, before we go on, a word about our fantasies about animals:
We were charmed by countless press reports that animals, with their acute senses, sensed the tsunami and mostly survived. But:
[TODAY's UPDATE] Tsunami Could Make Turtle Species Extinct, AP/Yahoo, Jan. 9, 2005
At least 24 turtles swept up by the waves have been found on the shores of Phuket island, some dead, others with cuts, scrapes and broken shells.
But the titanic wave also swept away about two dozen endangered olive ridley turtles that were part of a breeding program which had been increasing their numbers.
"In the worse-case scenario, the effect of the tsunami could make some species of sea turtles extinct," said Kongkiat Kittiwattanawong, a marine biologist at Phuket Marine Biological Center, said.
Sri Lankan Turtles Even Rarer in Wake of Tsunami, Jan 7, 2005:
BENTOTA, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - Sri Lankan conservationist Kithsiri Kannangara wipes a tear as he stands over a patch of sand and broken wire mesh, the only surviving incubation pit of his hatchery for endangered sea turtles.
Twelve days after giant tsunami waves destroyed the hatchery, washing away 20,000 eggs, seven rare green turtles [GREEN TURTLE IN PHOTO ABOVE RIGHT] and $500,000 worth of research equipment, Kannangara is still trying to come to terms with the loss. ...
"The beaches are all gone, they won't be able to nest here," said Harry Andrews, director of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Environmental Team.
Owen, a 300kg, one-year-old hippo, was swept down the Sabaki River, into the ocean and then back to shore when the giant waves struck the Kenyan coast.
The dehydrated hippo was found by wildlife rangers and taken to the Haller Park animal facility in the port city of Mombasa.
Pining for his lost mother, Owen quickly befriended a giant male Aldabran tortoise named Mzee - Swahili for "old man".
Haller Park ecologist Paula Kahumbu said the pair were now inseparable.
"It is incredible. A hippo has adopted a male tortoise, about a century old, and the tortoise seems to be very happy with being a mother... The hippo follows the tortoise the way it follows its mother.
"The hippo was left at a very tender age. Hippos are social animals that like to stay with their mothers for four years."
Officials are hopeful Owen will befriend a female hippo called Cleo, also a resident at the park. Daily Telegraph, Jan. 8, 2005
OTHER ANIMALS' PLIGHT:
The tsunami has left millions of animals -- both companion animals and farm animals -- without food, water, shelter, or companionship.
I help a wonderful group rescue cats in Sequim, WA. When I saw CNN footage of a sickly abandoned cat, my heart sank. (Right, Yahoo/AFP: "A cat walks among the debris in search of food on the worst hit Thai island of Phi Phi.")
While Anderson Cooper was reporting, dogs were hanging around him. He petted them, talked about their plight, but didn't mention giving them food.
And many animals are now regarded as dangerous because of disease or aggression:
Photo right: "A dead dog is pulled away as a government worker waits with lethal injection to kill stray dogs near the government hospital in Nagapattinam, India, Wednesday Jan. 5, 2005. Civic workers have been ordered to kill packs of stray dogs that have started attacking tsunami survivors as their behavior changed after eating human and animal flesh from rotting carcasses ..." (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan, AP - Jan 06, 2005)
The remarkable team from Humane Society International (the international arm of HSUS -- Humane Society of the United States) sees the interconnectedness of humans to animals:
Dogs are homeless in Thailand. Cows, water buffalo and goats have died in Sri Lanka. [F]arm animals are roaming destroyed grazing land and drinking polluted water since their owners have died, said Sherry Grant [SEE HER PHOTO ABOVE RIGHT], Asia director for Humane Society International. [See below for contact info.]
Humans and animals have a "dynamic connection," Grant said during a three-country tour of Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
"The animals and their well-being ... connect to the humans because they are the providers" and can generate economic recovery, she said. Subsistence farmers "need those cattle, they need those oxen to pull their plows, to work those fields."
Dogs are roaming what appear to be their hometowns in Thailand ... volunteers have supplied 800 kilograms (1,764 pounds) of dog food.
"One of the concerns we have ... while a farmer is trying to get himself back on his feet economically, he may not be able to feed those cows ... those cows are his livelihood."
[T]he Humane Society will likely provide financial aid, equipment, create dog feeding programs and clean watering holes.
Grant also noted that dogs were important companions for humans, but devastated families were now having to decide if they can feed one more mouth.
Dog owners in Phuket began dropping their pets off at a new shelter, which Grant said the government now can no longer afford to operate.
Dogs "fill the void of loneliness, and, my God, is there going to be some big voids in these families," she said.
THE HELPING GROUPS -- THEY NEED YOUR SUPPORT:
Donate to HSUS's Diaster Fund - Asian Tsunami
... Currently, food, water, and shelter for displaced animals appear to be the most urgent needs. HSI is receiving monetary donations to support our local partners to provide appropriate assistance. Your tax-deductible gift will be used to support this disaster and other animal disasters worldwide.
You saw HSI Asia DIrector Sherry Grant's photo above. Here are links to her fascinating Web logs on conditions after the tsunami: Web Log Day 1 (including her amazing, politically complicated story about rescuing a dolphin) and Web Log Day 2
+ A group of volunteers from South Africa's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) is on the ground:
Displaced animals needed to be fed, treated and placed in safe areas (impounded if necessary) to prevent scavengers being victimised or inhumanely treated for scavenging. Injuries needed to be treated and animals beyond saving put out of their misery in a humane way.
Donkeys and horses should be found and treated not only for their own sake but as part of the rescue mission, as they could go where vehicles could not, the NSPCA advised. ... IAfrica.com
The fund "will be used to help rebuild damaged and destroyed infrastructure related to sea turtle research and conservation in the region. ... An advisory panel of sea turtlers from the region is being established to determine how funds should be disbursed." [PHOTO RIGHT: A Hawksbill sea turtle]
There have been widely reported stories about the heroism and help of the marvelous working Thai elephants -- one of whom saved children during the tsunami, and another group of elephants that trumpeted warnings just before the tsunami. What's left out: The Asian elephants are trained with vicious beatings. And they're chained up on short chains.
From a remarkably rich and compassionate essay by a writer in The Philippines:
This is a perfect example of the importance of a solid grounding in science education. Now you can see what education is all about - preparing children to have a positive impact on the lives of people they encounter. In Tilly's case, she saved hundreds of lives at Maikhao Beach in Phuket, one of the few places where no one was killed.
In China, it is folk knowledge that pigs and ducks are the first to sense earthquakes. A young Hong Kong couple, billeted in one of the Thai resorts, woke up noticing an unusual number of cockroaches crawling in their room.
The wife told her husband that she sensed something would go wrong. So they immediately left the room and warned other guests on their way to higher ground. ...
"Tsunami tales," BABE'S EYE VIEW, By Babe Romualdez, The Philippine Star, 01/09/2005 [Do read it all.]
So I ask: Isn't it better that little Tilly learned the science of earthquakes and tsunamis, and used her knowledge to save many lives -- and that that young couple paid attention to, and acted upon, empirical evidence (the cockroaches) -- rather than being told that this was "God's will"?
And it's obvious we need nature more than it needs us. Let's all help.