'Operation Noah’s Ark' Helps Hundreds of Parrots

Kind people assist 275 stranded parrots on an island.

'Operation Noah’s Ark' Helps Hundreds of Parrots | Kind people assist 275 stranded parrots on an island.

A group of brave and determined people rescued 275 exotic parrots after Hurricane Ian hit Florida in late September, 2022. They aptly dubbed the mission “Operation Noah’s Ark,” using a fleet of boats to save the birds stranded on a Pine Island reserve, according to K-LOVE News.

The operation rescued many rare birds, including macaws, cockatoos, a pair of king parrots, plus two lemurs from the Malama Manu Sanctuary. Malama Manu means bird protection in the Hawaiian language, and the destruction from the recent hurricane demonstrates how its owners uphold this value.

Owners pledge to protect their parrots
When neighbors were urged to flee the hurricane, sanctuary owners Will Peratino and partner Lauren Stepp refused to leave. “We would not abandon them. I would never leave them. Never. If they cannot be fed or watered, they will die. And I can’t live with that,” Stepp told K-Love.

Instead, they decided to herd the parrots into their home to shield them from the ravaging winds, lashing rains, and surging ocean waves. Roads around them were soon damaged and a bridge collapsed, cutting them off from aid. Their house flooded with four feet of water and the owners said they all nearly drowned.

Ghassan Abboud, a friend who owns a bird farm in West Palm Beach, heard of their plight and tried to find a way to help get the birds to his property. He fortuitously heard about Project Dynamo, a team of volunteers who were rescuing stranded people in the area.

The organization leapt into action right away with volunteers, boats, and cages. “I could never write a script like this. It was perfect. I thought I’d be back all day long in a small boat. What these guys have done has been unimaginable. They dedicated their resources. They saved so many birds,” Abboud told K-Love.

Project Dynamo to the rescue
Project Dynamo has rescued pets before, but has never attempted a mission of such biblical proportions, reported rdnewsNow. The storm passed, but the situation became more desperate when the couple no longer had food for their birds.

Operation Noah’s Ark, led by Bryan Stern of Project Dynamo, was stirred to the heart. “Will and Laura, who own the sanctuary, their hearts and souls are in the birds. So they’re going through their own suffering from the hurricane and having to rebuild their lives. They lost all kinds of stuff. Is the answer to that to lose more?” Stern explained to rdnewsNow.

Using nets, the volunteers placed each parrot in a cage with their bare hands. They were able to save every bird. “To have every bird safe is a huge undertaking,” Peratino told K-LOVE news. “I mean, it's almost impossible to do. So the kind of help we've gotten has been invaluable.”

This animal rescue is also important for the survival of these rare species, according to an Associated Press YouTube video. As many of these parrots are losing habitat in their own country, it is important to give them a safe place in order to protect their future. (from the video)

It will take six months to a year to restore the cages at Malama Manu and then the birds can return to their home. It was a time of emotion, giving, and of gratitude. With tears in his eyes, Peratino said in the video, “If you’re an animal lover, you don’t think about yourself first. You think about just protecting the animals. They’re a family.”

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