Tsunami: Animals need help too

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) and Wild Adventures Africa (WAA) are asking South Africans to donate money to help animals in the countries struck by the tsunami.

“The focus is on helping the people in the affected areas, but we try to help the people through helping the animals,” Charles Lubbe, CEO of WAA, which is not a charity organisation, told the Mail & Guardian Online this week.

“We need to remove corpses of dead animals and we need to make sure that stray dogs don’t eat corpses of humans or drink contaminated water. In that way, we are preventing the spread of diseases.”

The NSPCA also points out that the rescue of farm animals is crucial to local economies and to the survival of people depending on these animals.

“The money that is donated to us by the people will go to the animals and not to the people.
I consider it immoral to take money that was donated by the public for the rescue of animals and hand it to the people,” Marcelle Meredith, executive director of the NSPCA, told the M&G Online.

“Take, for example, the elephants that are helping the people to lift the rubble and the dead bodies; these animals need to eat and drink. Our money goes to these animals.”

Join forces

The NSPCA and WAA have similar goals, but they are not joining efforts and are raising money separately.

“A joint operation might be more effective, and I do not really know why we are not cooperating,” said Lubbe. “If it shows that we are not raising sufficient money, we might consider the option of joining forces.”

So far, the NSPCA has received R140 000 and WAA R5 000. Both organisations will transfer the money to Humane Society International (HSI), one of the organisations coordinating relief aid for animals.

“I think WAA should come to us if they want to coordinate a relief effort. We have never heard from them,” Meredith said.

The NSPCA has a team of volunteers ready to fly to the affected area. There are funds available to pay for the deployment of these volunteers.

“We are waiting for HSI or the South African government before we send this team to Asia,” Meredith said. “We cannot deploy people without an organisation or the government coordinating such an operation.”

Crocodiles

“Animals that are relocated by the water also form a problem. Take for examples crocodiles,” Lubbe said.

“In the Andaman archipelago, the tsunamis have filled dry places with water. Crocodiles have moved to these places and are now a lot closer to humans than they were before.

“For some reason, they also started to attack humans, maybe because other marine life is absent or because they are stressed, but we want to relocate these crocs back to the places where they are no threat to humans.”

Rescuers this week saved one of two dolphins that were dumped in an inland Thai lake by the waves.

Donations to the NSPCA can be made at Standard Bank, Southdale branch, account number 201032015, branch code 006405.

Donations to WAA can be made at Standard Bank, Lynnwood, account number 013358529, branch code 012445.

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