Oct 11, 2022
A Florida nonprofit founded to rescue evacuees from Afghanistan and later Ukraine took on an unusual mission in the wake of Hurricane Ian. It rescued 275 parrots, two lemurs, and their owners stranded on an island.
The effort was called “Noah’s Ark.” Tampa-based Project Dynamo pulled it together. It got four boats to travel to Pine Island to rescue the birds at Malama Manu Sanctuary. The hurricane left the island unreachable by land. The storm had washed away the bridge that connected the island to the mainland.
The sanctuary’s owners had refused to leave during the storm. They rode out the storm on the island. It pushed four feet of water into their house.
“We would not abandon (the animals). I would never leave them. Never,” Malama Manu co-owner Lauren Stepp told The Associated Press (AP). “If they cannot be fed or watered, they will die. And I can’t live with that.”
Project Dynamo has rescued dozens of people after Ian. It picked up six dogs, three birds, and three cats prior to the Malama Manu rescue.
“Our animal numbers are about to be blown out of the water by 100 cages of parrots,” the organization's founder told the AP.
It took several hours for volunteers to catch the parrots. Some of them are very rare birds. The volunteers got it done and moved them to a bird farm in West Palm Beach.
The bird farm’s owner, Ghassan Abboud, who contacted Project Dynamo about the stranded group, called the rescue “unimaginable.”
“I could never write a script like this,” Abboud told the AP. “It was perfect.”
Photo from Reuters.
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