At the beginning of February, we rescued 35 wild horses and foals from drowning in a flooded river in Alexander Bay, South Africa. After a dangerous rescue mission, the horses were safely brought to dry land, but they are terribly weak and very hungry. Having spent a week submerged in water, their hooves have begun to rot - plus they are starving, dehydrated and weak.
You know that Network for Animals will never give up on an animal in its most desperate time of need. We cannot abandon these horses! We pledge to do everything in our power to help them heal from their terrible ordeal and to be by their side until they are strong again. Can the horses and their foals count on your support?
In case you missed the story, here’s what happened…
In late January, heavy flooding along the Orange River in Namaqualand, South Africa, left 32 horses and three foals stranded on tiny islands surrounded by rising waters. As the river swelled from torrential rains and water levels rose ever more rapidly, the trapped animals became increasingly frightened, knowing death by drowning was approaching. To make the situation even more heartbreaking, some of the horses were tethered! We raced into action, driving ten hours to the remote town of Alexander Bay, determined to save them all.
They faced a horrific death in a raging flood. We were their only hope!
We leaped into ACTION! There was no other option!
To make the situation even more fraught, the horses are terrified of humans. Technically, the horses have owners, but they flee from them whenever they can. If they are captured, they are used, tethered, beaten and starved - understandably, they want nothing to do with humans.
The horses and foals were foraging for food near the river when a maelstrom descended on them. The flood was so sudden and so fierce, they had no chance of escape.
An eleventh-hour rescue mission was the only chance they had!
We learned about the situation when the National Sea Rescue Institutes (NSRI) of South Africa and Namibia put out URGENT pleas for help. Network for Animals was the only organization to respond.
As we always do when animals are in critical need, we sprang into action along with our partner, the Have A Heart Equine Sanctuary (HAHES), experts in horse rescues and rehabilitation.
After a long and gruelling drive through the desert to the little town of Alexander Bay on the border of Namibia and South Africa, our team linked up with the NSRI experts. Rescue craft were launched into the roiling water along with NRSI rescue swimmers and Namibian swimmer volunteers. The plan was to drive the horses from island to island until they reached an area where our team could capture and calm them, before swimmers guided them to safety. Heartbreakingly, the horses are so petrified of humans that they kept trying to get away. It took a massive and exhausting effort, but we finally managed to get them to a safe island with enough grazing and fresh water to wait out the flood. Only when the waters subside can we bring them to shore.
Without the EMERGENCY RESCUE MISSION funded by NFA (before we could even reach out to supporters for help), the horses and their young - starving and dehydrated - would have been swept away to their deaths.
Against all odds, every single one of the 32 horses and three foals are safe! But they are weak, terrified and in need of intensive rehabilitation after their ordeal.
NOW, the hard work really begins. Our team is working as hard as it can to treat every horse, but all the animals need intensive care because they are starving, terrified and weak. After days of being stranded, with flood waters rising and no access to food or drinkable water, these poor creatures are broken.
Some of their worst injuries are to their hooves: because they were submerged in water for a week, their hooves have begun to rot, making it even harder for them to support the weight of their exhausted, battered bodies. Vets are standing by on the mainland, ready to receive and treat the horses as soon as they arrive.
This is where the horses really need your help. They need nutritious food, special supplements, hydration, veterinary care, sedatives and regular monitoring. Our best estimate is this care will cost approximately $8,750 (£6,460) for the first month. We have a plan in place to get 40 hay bales to the island where the horses are but we also need to cover the cost of transport to get items to the water-logged region.
That’s why we are writing to you now. We must do everything we can to rehabilitate the horses and give them a second chance at a peaceful life.
But now we must do everything we can to rehabilitate the horses and give them a second chance at a peaceful life.
And this is exactly what we are pledged to do. Please, if you possibly can, donate right away. As an animal lover, you’ll know that now is when they need us most. Your support today will make all the difference!
For the animals,
Brian and Gloria Davies (and Max and Flora!)
Network for Animals
P.S. Imagine escaping from relentless abuse, thinking you are free in the wilderness, finally safe from pain, and then being trapped on an island as floodwaters rise around you. Imagine how terrified and frantic you would feel, especially if you were a mother trying to protect your young. Please, these horses need our compassion and support! If you possibly can, donate now to help the horses and foals of Alexander Bay. They really need you!
P.P.S. Because these horses technically all belong to someone, we have to prosecute these ‘owners’ for cruelty before we are allowed to work on finding good homes for them and giving them lives of peace, and where death by drowning is not a possibility.