Will Peratino and Lauren Stepp refused to evacuate their home on Pine Island, Florida which suffered catastrophic damage from Hurricane Ian. Why? They didn't want to abandon their two lemurs and the 275 parrots, many of which are rare birds, in their adjacent Malama Manu bird sanctuary. Just before Ian hit, Peratino and Stepp brought all of the birds into their home. Wildlife officials have been providing food but it's become increasingly difficult due to a downed bridge and damaged roads. From the Associated Press:
So a rescue mission — dubbed "Operation Noah's Ark" — was launched Tuesday to catch, cage and ferry the birds off the island, as a condition to persuade Peratino and Stepp to leave the island.
"We would not abandon them. I would never leave them. Never," said Stepp, as volunteers worked on collecting the flock from dozens of coops at the Malama Manu Sanctuary. "If they cannot be fed or watered, they will die. And I can't live with that."