352 Animals Rescued in Hawai‘i Island Lava Zone

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A cat in a trap in the mandatory evacuation area of Leilani Estates on July 7, 2018. PC: Crystal Richard

The Hawaii Island Humane Society continues to conduct helicopter animal rescues in the isolated areas of Pohoiki, as well as trapping missions in Leilani Estates three or four days a week.

“We trapped an additional eight cats in Pohoiki yesterday, mostly owned and friendly, with one feral cat,” a HIHS spokesperson said.

Seven head of cattle removed—all were adults or young adults.

HIHS has rescued 352 animals from Kīlauea’s Lower East Rift Zone since the eruption began on May 3, 2018.


The tally includes 100 cats, 40 chickens and five dogs that were picked up in July.

Paradise Helicopters has played a vital role in providing air transportation, airlifting large
animals from the isolated areas.

The animal rescues have been a group effort between HIHS, animal rescues organizations, the
community, residents and businesses.

Feral pig on Leilani Avenue in Leilani Estates, just above the channelized lava flow from Fissure 8 on July 24, 2018. PC: Scott Cate

There are still many animals inside the mandatory evacuation zone east of Pomaikai Street in Leilani Estates.

This friendly feral pig stole the hearts of many working inside of Leilani Estates, July 26, 2018. PC: Crystal Richard


This week a feral pig was found on Leilani Avenue. He befriended U.S. Geological Survey’s drone team, members of the media and emergency officials. On July 28, the pig was rescued and taken to the Kona HIHS location. He will be going to a vegan sanctuary in Kona. He was so friendly, rescuers were able to pick him up and load him into a crate.

The LERZ eruption is now the longest one ever recorded in the area and is biggest eruption from Kīlauea in over 200 years.

As the numbers show, pets and feral cats have been heavily impacted.

At this time, there is a need for support for the cats that have been evacuated from these areas.


According to HIHS Executive Director Donna Whitaker, there is a need for fosters for feral cats.

“Fostering unsocialized cats is free to the foster and we provide food,” explained Whitaker. “It’s helpful if you have experience with these cats because they are still wild and just need a quiet, contained place with food and water. They are actually happier without much human interaction. We have about 25 at the shelter and it is a stressful place for these cats. These animals have been through so much over the last 13 weeks and need a safe place to recuperate.”

The ASPCA is no longer in Hawai‘i assisting with animal rescues.

For more information or to become a foster parent, go online.

There are many animals still inside the mandatory evacuation area east of Pomaikai Street in Leilani Estates. July 24, 2018. PC: Crystal Richard


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