Animal welfare groups in Japan have begun rescue operations to find lost and injured animals affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, supported by petfood donations from Nestle Purina USA.

Nestle Purina USA announced that the company will deliver petfood and money to Japanese shelters and rescue groups.

Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support includes three animal welfare groups coordinating to aid animals affected in Japan: Animal Friends Niigata, Japan Cat Network and HEART-Tokushima. JEARS says it has been difficult to find pets alive as well as to find accommodations for the ones that are found still living. JEARS said that growing concerns over spreading nuclear radiations have driven many pet owners out of the country, abandoning their pets. David Wybenga of Japan Cat Network said his group is working to find lost pets and reunite them with their families.

JEARS said that they will continue to help rescue animals in Japan despite all the hardships that they will face.