Weeks after a magnitude-7.8 earthquake rocked areas of Turkey and Syria, rescuers are still patrolling the rubble in search of lost pets. There are plenty left to be found. Right now, teams of volunteers are working around the clock to get these animals the life-saving care they need. They’re also scrambling to reunite the animals with their owners.
The earthquake that struck southern Turkey and Northern Syria on Feb. 6 has so far resulted in more than 55,000 confirmed deaths. Thousands more people have been displaced, and many were forced to evacuate without their pets.
Now, global animal welfare organization Humane Society International has dispatched dozens of vets and volunteers to the disaster zone. So far, the group estimates that more than 1,500 pets have been brought into its clinic in Turkey.
Locals have also been working hard to save pets found wandering through the debris. Turkish rescue group Haytap has rescued dozens of dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, cows, and even a goat, the group writes on their website. Sometimes the rescues involve scaling buildings to access hard-to-reach pets. Other times, they involve chasing frightened animals so they can get the help they need.
“Some cats are an absolute nightmare to catch. But at the end of it when they reunite with [their] owners, the reward of that is priceless,” wrote one local rescuer in a Twitter post.
The search for lost pets is expected to continue throughout the coming weeks. If you want to help, consider donating to Humane Society International’s disaster response fund here.