A Race To Rescue Farm Animals & Wildlife In France After Storms Cause Major Flooding Throughout The Country

Storms Céline, Ciaran, Domingos, and depression Elisa have hit France successively since the end of October. Record winds and severe flooding have displaced, injured, and killed many farm animals and wildlife. IFAW is currently rushing emergency aid to wildlife rescue centers and other animal welfare organizations throughout the country.

“The storms unleashed heavy downpours and strong winds that swept birds out of the skies, lashed the land – displacing thousands of farm animals, and swamped wildlife burrowing underground,” said Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, program director for IFAW’s disaster response and risk reduction work in Europe.

“Animals are often the forgotten victims in times of crisis. We have no way of knowing how many animals have been impacted, but we know that we want to help as many of them as possible, so we are doing all we can,” continued Sissler-Bienvenu.

The storms coincided with the critical time that thousands of migratory birds were heading to Western Africa, such as the European storm petrel – the smallest seabird in Europe.

This caused many strandings on Western shores in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, as birds became exhausted from the strong winds. IFAW is supporting the feed, care, and veterinary treatment for close to 40 sea birds that are being treated at the Centre Vétérinaire de la Faune Sauvage et des Écosystèmes (CVFSE), a veterinary center for wildlife in Nantes, France.

At SOS Tortue Bretagne, a turtle and tortoise rescue center, enormous gusts of wind caused roof sheets to become undone and crash into the center, damaging the animal enclosures. IFAW is supporting the purchase of 15 to 20 new enclosures to ensure the animals have a safe place to stay and are sheltered from the relentless wind and rain.

The impact on farm animals and farmers is also very severe. Many animals have already drowned or suffered hypothermia after their enclosures were flooded. IFAW is providing a grant to Le Parc Pédagogique Nature du Marais, which houses and cares for abandoned backyard farm animals. The grant will help to purchase wooden houses that will shelter 40 displaced Ouessant sheep.

Sadly, widespread flooding in northern and eastern France continues and has led to the evacuation of thousands of people. Record rainfall has caused rivers to break their banks, forcing the government to declare an official state of emergency in hundreds of towns and villages.

The national weather service Météo France stated that several departments remain on high alert. The service predicts that there could be worse weather to come over the next 24 hours in eastern France.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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