Explore 50 years of protecting animals in disasters
This year, we are reflecting on our 50 years of disaster work and celebrating how protecting animals helps communities to re-build.
Many of the world’s poorest people are completely reliant on animals for food, transport and income. We work with these communities to both protect animals and to build a sustainable future in the event of further disasters.
It all started in March 1964 when we received a letter from officials in Surinam asking for our assistance in rescuing thousands of animals trapped by rising water behind the newly created Afobaka dam. In the 18 months that followed, John Walsh and a team of 42 members of the local community, rescued 10,000 wild animals from flood water. Known as ‘Operation Gwamba’, the intervention marked the first of hundreds of disaster relief missions to come.
Since then, we have worked throughout the world to protect animals caught in disasters. Since our first response in 1964, we have directly treated over 3.5 million animals in 227 disasters. From Mexico to Indonesia, our disaster response team of highly skilled specialists has deployed to protect animals in need.
Also help us be prepared for when disaster strikes by supporting our Disaster Relief Fund.
Image: John Walsh and JC Murillo provide animal aid after an earthquake in El Salvador, 2011
*Note: We were WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals). We are now World Animal Protection.