A note left where the dogs had been read: ‘Long Live La Palma! The dogs are okay. A Team’
A mysterious rescue operation, possibly mounted by animal rights activists calling themselves the ‘A Team’, may have saved four cachorros which were stranded next to lava flows on the Spanish ilha de La Palma.
The dogs have been marooned since last week next to water deposits in the village of Todoque, which is cut off by rivers of molten magma.
Drone footage appeared to show human footprints next to the water deposits where the dogs were last seen.
“Long Live La Palma! The dogs are okay. A Team,” read a hand-painted sheet hanging from the side of a water reserve.
Aerocamaras, a Spanish industrial drone company, has been preparing to make a dramatic rescue attempt using large drones.
They were going to lure the dogs with food then catch them in nets and lift them to safety one by one.
“This morning we made a reconnaissance flight and we found human footprints in the area where the dogs were and where it is supposedly impossible to get to. We also saw the banner which says the animals are fine,” a company spokesman said on Thursday.
“If so, ótimo, that’s good news. But we have been working on this operation for many days and doing everything we could. If someone has really rescued them then please tell us and prove it and we will suspend the operation.”
The Canary Islands government was investigating the fate of the dogs, who were believed to be wild animals.
Authorities had given the go-ahead to Aerocámaras to carry out the unusual drone rescue operation on Tuesday.
Jaime Pereira, the CEO of Aerocámaras, had said this type of rescue had not been attempted before.
“This is unprecedented, it’s never been attempted before anywhere in the world. But it is either that or let them die.”