Tenerife, known for its idyllic climate, recently faced a remarkable challenge – a record October heatwave, intensified by the meteorological phenomenon known as “Calima.” This unexpected adversity has not only tested the mettle of Tenerife Horse Rescue Sustainable Animal Sanctuary’s dedicated volunteers but has also raised awareness about the impact of climate change on humans, animals, and the environment.
Calima is a meteorological phenomenon originating in the Sahara Desert. It carries fine sand and dust particles suspended in the atmosphere, creating a dense haze when it reaches the Canary Islands. This phenomenon disrupts daily life and has significant implications for both the natural environment and the well-being of humans and animals.
Calima’s Multi-Faceted Impact: Animals, Nature, and Humans
Animals are particularly vulnerable to Calima. The combination of high temperatures, limited visibility, and reduced air quality can distress and discomfort pets, wildlife, and livestock.
Calima can have a detrimental effect on the environment, affecting plant life and altering wildlife behaviors. It can even contribute to the risk of wildfires.
Tenerife Horse Rescue: A Compassionate Response to a Dual Challenge
Calima leads to reduced air quality due to airborne dust particles, causing respiratory issues and discomfort. High temperatures increase the risk of heat-related illnesses.
According to official statistics temperatures of 34 degrees celsius were recorded on 08/10/2023. Although this figure is already astonishing for this time of year and a record heatwave, many local people were reporting temperature readings in excess of 40 degrees!
So how does this compare to previous years? If we just take the official statistics for the past years, then the figures speak for themselves. On 08/10/2023 highs of 34 were recorded.
When we take the average high temperature for 08/10 from the 14 years that preceded 2023, the average high temperature was 23 degrees! That is an increase of 11 degrees or 48%. The next highest temperature recorded on this day in this 14 year period was 30 degrees, recorded in 2012.
For the volunteers at Tenerife Horse Rescue Sustainable Animal Sanctuary, the recent record October heatwave, compounded by Calima, presented an extraordinary challenge. They not only had to intensify their efforts to stay hydrated themselves but also faced the arduous task of ensuring the well-being of all animals under their care, not limited to just horses.
Going the Extra Mile for Animal Comfort
These devoted volunteers worked tirelessly, often sacrificing their own comfort, to provide the rescued animals with the care they needed. The heatwave meant that all creatures, great and small, required extra attention. This included ensuring access to shade at all times of day, providing cool water, and maintaining a comfortable environment for the animals, and the most adversely affected members of the volunteering team also, some of whom had pushed themselves beyond their own limits to ensure the comfort of other sentient beings.
In times like these the commitment of our volunteers have proven to be priceless. Their commitment to the welfare of the animals, regardless of species, has remained steadfast. Tenerife Horse Rescue stands as a testament to the strength of a united community, determined to protect and care for all who depend on their compassion, even in the face of the most unexpected and formidable of adversaries like calima and extreme temperatures.
~ Written by Chris