ARK Helping the Animals of Tohoku

We experienced the Kobe earthquake in 1995 and in that one year took in 600 animals, many of those animals lived out their lives at ARK, up to 10 years. That experience has helped us this time although the scale of the disaster is enormous, compounded by the tsunami and the threat of radiation from the crippled nuclear plant. Kobe is only two hours drive from here but Tohoku is in the north of Japan, a day's drive away, this hindered too by lack of petrol. Before the 20k zone was closed we had two boys from our staff up there rescuing, visiting local government offices for radiation screening, and then meeting up with volunteers from our Tokyo office. The animals were then taken to Tokyo Haneda airport and flown to Osaka Itami, where we pick them up. As of 29th May, 197 dogs, 17 cats, a guinea pig, rabbit and a masked love bird have come in here. Once at Osaka ARK, they are processed fairly quickly by our resident vet; de-wormed, vaccinated, blood tested for heart worm, microchipped and neutered. We send details of the animals with photos back to the local authorities to try to find owners. Already several have found their owners and those will be boarded are ARK until they are in a place where they can take their pets back.


Japanese Government allowed one or two family members, after 8th May to enter the 20k zone to collect personal possessions. When this was announced the government said they would not allow people to take out pets or animals of any kind. We put together a petition in Japanese and English and a wonderful volunteer even translated it into French. 77 organisations in Japan and another 350 organizations around the world signed it and individuals all around the world printed it out, signed it and sent it to a group of Japanese officials. After the petition campaigns from ARK and other animals welfare groups and a protest in Shibuya they announced that they will be allowing owners to take out their pets and that any animals found left in yards and homes to be brought out by officials. They did pick up some of the animals but the numbers were so low it hardly makes a dent on the amount of animals needing rescue. The government arranged a team of vets to go into the zone to rescue animals, however these are not trained or experienced rescuers and the outcome was a meager 20 animals rescued and they are not planning to attempt another rescue for months. What is needed is for animal rescue groups to be allowed in to catch the loose animals or we will surely have a large feral population within a year as most of the animals are not spayed or neutered.


So you can see it is quite a lengthy process. We promise to board all these animals for free as well as giving all veterinary treatment and care for free. If we have no contact from owners or can't find, after three months, the animals become the property of ARK and can be put up for adoption. With all of this the intake of non-earthquake animals has not diminished in fact since so many groups are focused on the disaster animals many more animals are being brought to ARK. We will continue to work not only for the disaster animals but any animal we can help no matter the reason.

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