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Koa The Lava Horse, A Follow-up With The Hawaiʻi Animal Kuleana Alliance

4:42 AM · Jun 1, 2021

During the 2018 eruption of Kilauea, the Hawaiʻi Animal Kuleana Alliance (HAKA) was involved in the rescue of “Koa, the Lava Horse.” At that time the group was known as the Hawai’i Lava Flow Animal Rescue Network (HLFARN), undergoing a name change when they achieved their nonprofit status in early 2021. Koa was known to wander the area around Fissure 17, before photos were shared on social media and he became a sensation. When the eruption escalated in May of 2018 and threatened his life, HAKA provided transport and a foster home on the Hamakua Coast. He spent several months being cared for by volunteers and veterinarians who nursed Koa back to a healthy weight and worked on his hoof issues. HAKA provided Koa’s food, supplements, special medical needs, and dental care for over a year until he was formally adopted by a loving family in Mountain View. Here is a photo of HAKA Koa enjoying his new home, with his girlfriend Daisy, in the background. Today, HAKA is working on preparing for the next disaster, focusing on animal rescue with the lessons learned from the 2018 eruption in hand. HAKA is now recruiting volunteers to help in the next eruption, whenever that happens to take place. They will be partnering with an internationally renowned animal rescue and training organization. They will train volunteers to provide the island’s first hands-on volunteer training for large animal search and rescue. HAKA also is looking to help educate the local community with the information needed to prepare for the next eruption. Having a plan and early proactive steps are essential to being able to evacuate pets, livestock and necessary animal supplies, as once the lava starts flowing, access into an area will likely be restricted, further complicating last minute rescues. HAKA is also actively registering residents into their Disaster Animal Rescue Enrollment database, which will help register those that may require assistance in the evacuation of their animals come the next disaster. If you would like to help with animal rescue and receive professional training in the process, or find other ways to support the project, check out HAKA’s information hub at: Images courtesy of HAKA and Joseph Anthony

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