The Best Animal Rescue Stories of 2017

Many lucky animals are alive today thanks to the heroic efforts of some very compassionate people over the past 12 months. Here are just a few of the memorable animal rescue stories Care2 covered this year.

Animals Saved During U.S. Hurricanes and Wildfires

During the hurricanes and wildfires that devastated parts of the country in 2017, people risked their own lives to help save animals in trouble.

When a dog was spotted being swept away in swift-moving Harvey floodwaters in Lumberton, Texas, a group of people spontaneously grabbed a rope and worked together to save his life.

In California, spectators who showed up to watch a wildfire burning in Irvine became heroes when they helped evacuate horses. “Strangers were just offering their time, trailers, and trucks to help get the animals out of there,” said Nicole Otoupalik, a rescuer with In Defense of Animals. “Others in cars stopped to offer rides to help everyone get there more quickly.”

Hundreds of Dogs Rescued from South Korean Meat Farms

At the beginning of the year, 200 dogs were rescued by Humane Society International (HSI) from a dog meat farm that closed in Wonju, South Korea. Several dog meat farms have closed, largely thanks to HSI, which is working in partnership with people who want to leave the cruel dog-meat industry by helping them close their farms and pursue other livelihoods.

In March, 55 dogs were rescued by HSI from another meat farm that closed near Seoul. HSI described the farm as a “dark labyrinth layout of narrow corridors reaching pens and cages of dogs living without daylight or fresh air.”

Four months later, nearly 150 dogs were rescued by HSI from yet another closing meat farm in South Korea.

There’s even more good news: Many of those rescued dogs, like Camo below, have already found loving forever homes in the U.S., Canada and UK.

Sri Lanka Navy Saves Elephant Swept Out to Sea

An elephant that had probably become caught in a riptide current while crossing a lagoon was spotted almost 10 miles off the shore of Sri Lanka in July by members of the country’s Navy.

The elephant was frantically struggling against the current while trying to keep its trunk out of the water to avoid drowning.

In a rescue effort that took three hours, Navy divers and Department of Wildlife officials were able to loop tow ropes around the elephant’s body and gently guide it back to shore, where it was released into the jungle.

24 Pet Monkeys Returned to Jungle Home

Two dozen pet monkeys — 18 long-tailed macaques and six pig-tailed macaques Ė that had either been abandoned or surrendered by their owners were returned in November to the Indonesia rainforest from which they’d been stolen. Macaques are one of the most popular primate species in Indonesian pet markets.

The monkeys had been taken in by International Animal Rescue (IAR). After being kept in quarantine at IARís Primate Rehabilitation Centre in West Java to ensure they were healthy, the monkeys underwent a rehabilitation process during which they were reintroduced to natural foods and encouraged to exhibit behaviors necessary to survive in the wild, including being socialized in groups. For some of these very social creatures, it was the first time they’d met other monkeys.

Boat Captain Saves Entangled Great White Shark

In May, about half a mile off the coast of Orange County, Calif., Chris Pica and three of his friends aboard a skiff became surrounded by great white sharks. One of the sharks was entangled in fishing gear, with a hook in its mouth.

Pica is a boat captain who’s also a member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationís Orange County whale disentanglement team. So is his friend Frank Brennan, who was with him on the skiff. Although they’ve rescued whales that were entangled in fishing line, this was the first time Pica or Brennan had encountered a great white in the same predicament.

With his friends holding his legs so he wouldn’t be pulled overboard by the shark, Pica was able to cut through the line and free the shark. This hero said if he ever encounters another entangled great white, he wouldn’t hesitate to do the very same thing.

Photo credit: Andrea Booher/FEMA


Marie W
Marie W7 months ago

Thank you

Claire Jeffrey
Claire Jeffrey9 months ago


Leanne K
Leanne K9 months ago

Thank goodness. Thankyou Care2

Glennis W
Glennis Wabout a year ago

All so awesome Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis Wabout a year ago

So many precious lives saved everywhere Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis Wabout a year ago

All the animals from cyclones and typhoons too Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis Wabout a year ago

All awesome rescues remember all Thank you for caring and sharing

sharon b
sharon babout a year ago

Awesome story.

Chrissie R
Chrissie Rabout a year ago

Thank you for posting.

Danuta W
Danuta Wabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing