May 30, 2024

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Caramelo, a Brazilian horse stranded on a roof due to flooding, has been rescued after shocking the nation

Caramelo, a Brazilian horse stranded on a roof due to flooding, has been rescued after shocking the nation

A man and his dog reunite at a shelter that provides refuge for dogs evacuated from areas flooded by heavy rains, in Canoas, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, Thursday, May 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

Canoa, Brazil (AFP) – A Brazilian horse nicknamed “Caramelo” by social media users has gained national attention after a television news helicopter filmed it stuck on the roof of a house in southern Brazil. Massive floods killed more than 100 people.

About 24 hours after it was first spotted and with people calling for its rescue, a team in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul succeeded on Thursday in removing Caramelo, giving a dose of hope to the besieged area.

The brown horse had been balancing on two narrow strips of slippery asbestos for several days in Canoas, a city located in the Porto Alegre urban area and one of the worst-hit areas in the state, most of which has been cut off by floodwaters.

“We found the animal in a weakened state,” Cap said. Thiago Franco, a firefighter from São Paulo, who was deployed to lead the rescue operation, was quoted as saying in a statement issued by that state’s security secretariat. “We tried to approach it in a calm way.”

Firefighters and veterinarians climbed onto the flooded roof, sedated and immobilized the horse, then placed it on an inflatable raft, which weighed just 770 pounds. Four rubber boats and four support ships participated in the operation, along with firefighters, soldiers and other volunteers.

The rescue operation was broadcast live on television networks and filmed from their helicopters. Social media influencer Felipe Neto sent updates to his nearly 17 million followers on X while the rescue operation was underway. And then he offered to adopt him.

“Caramelo, Brazil loves you!!! Oh my God, what happiness.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s wife, Ganga, posted a video of herself sharing the good news with the Brazilian leader, whispering in his ear at an official event. He smiled and gave her a thumbs up and hugged her to him. Rio Grande do Sul Governor Eduardo Leite also celebrated the rescue, posting on X: “All lives matter, and we stand firm!”

Caramelo is recovering at a university veterinary hospital.

He arrived suffering from severe dehydration, Mariangela Allgaier, a veterinarian and professor at the foundation, said Thursday afternoon on social media.

He is about 7 years old, and based on his characteristics, he was likely used as a draft animal for a cart, Bruno Schmitz, one of the veterinarians who helped rescue and evaluate Caramelo, told the GloboNews television network. He’s also very gentle, which has greatly helped him administer the tranquilizers, Schmitz added.

“It was a very difficult process, exceeding the standards even for specialized teams. I think they had never gone through something like this before, but thank God everything went well,” he then showed Caramelo standing up.

The stranded horse is just one of many animals that animal rescue workers have been scrambling to save in recent days. Rio Grande do Sul state agents have rescued about 10,000 animals since last week, while volunteers and those in municipalities have saved thousands more, according to the state’s housing secretariat.

Animal protection groups and volunteers have shared photos of difficult rescues and intimate scenes of pets reuniting with their owners on social media. One of the videos that went viral showed a man crying inside a boat, hugging his four dogs after rescuers returned to his home to save them.

Heavy rains and flooding in Rio Grande do Sul have killed at least 107 people. Another 136 were reported missing and more than 230,000 people were displaced, according to state authorities. There is no official count of the number of animals killed or missing, but local media estimated the number in the thousands.

Not far from where Caramelo was rescued, Kanoa pet owners celebrated as they waited in line for donations at a temporary animal shelter organized by volunteers.

“There’s a lot of bad news, but this rescue gives people here more hope,” Guilherme Santos, 23, said as he searched for dog food for his puppies. “If they can save a horse, why not rescue all the dogs that are still missing? We can certainly do this.”

Carla Sassi, president of Grad, a Brazilian non-profit that rescues animals after disasters, said she is meeting with state government officials in Canoas to discuss emergency procedures to rescue pets.


Sa Pessoa reported from São Paulo.

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