Animal rescue part of post-floods relief effort

Ljubljana, 10 August - The relief effort post-floods includes animal rescue and deliveries of fuel for heavy machinery. Helicopters play a crucial part in this, the police said on Thursday.

Police helicopter.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA
File photo

Heavy machinery has been key in the clean-up effort after last weekend's massive floods, which are considered the worst natural disaster on record to have hit Slovenia.

Machines have been playing a pivotal role in re-establishing the current of the Savinja River in the eponymous valley in the north of the country, the General Police Administration said.

Fuel supplies are of key importance now in affected areas. Barrels containing oil are attached to the helicopter and transported to where they are needed.

Now that people have been reported to be safe and sound or more or less brought to safety animal rescue is also part of the relief effort.

The police aircraft unit is actively rescuing animals in distress in the post-flooding landscape and securing people's property and assets. For example, two pigs were rescued from the Savinja Valley by helicopter, the police said.

The animals were airlifted from a farm and moved to a safer location a few hundred metres away. The pigs' owners lost their farm in the floods, and the only livestock survivors were the pigs and a mare, which fled the swollen waters on its own, the police said.

Additional animal rescue stories keep popping up on social media. Also in the Savinja Valley, the Slovenian troops and Civil Protection members rescued a calf.

Trapped in mud and debris for nearly a week and cooing for help, the two-month-old calf miraculously survived the floods and was brought to safety after what the army described as a challenging rescue. He is recuperating from the ordeal, reported.

Even though it seemed at first that there will be no rescue for the baby calf, things started moving along after an animal rights NGO urged help and the Slovenian military stepped in. It also seems that Prime Minister Robert Golob and his partner and animal rights activist, Tina Gaber, have played a part in making sure that the calf is rescued, the news portal added.

Moreover, volunteer firefighters from Velenje brought an injured swan back into the local lake after the bird was flushed away by the raging waters.

The floods are likely to have had a devastating impact on wildlife. There is no detailed information about the situation yet, but in Pomurje in the north-east of the country initial estimates suggest that losses of deer and small game in flooding-prone areas will be very high.

Some hunting organisations have already detected increased game mortality, the Slovenian Hunting Association told the STA.

Experts have also warned that rivers in the affected areas will be left nearly without fish since most of them were killed by the strong currents. Fishermen will reintroduce the artificially bred species, while repopulation of other species will take years.

© STA, 2023