More than 600 shelter animals across the state – including that of Hawaii Island Humane Society, will fly to shelters in Washington State, Oregon, Idaho and Montana in an effort to move the animals from overcrowded shelters so they could be adopted more quickly into loving homes.

Paws Across the Pacific is being touted as “the largest pet rescue flight in history.” It is a collaborative effort between the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, Greater Good Charities, and Wings of Rescue.

“Pet shelters in Hawaii are in a COVID-19 crisis,” Liz Baker, CEO of Greater Good Charities, told Hawaii Tribune in an interview. “Normal operations have been affected by months of shut down, economic downturn, limited hours, and routine flights to mainland halted. The Paws Across the Pacific flight is urgently needed to make space in Hawaii’s shelters for at-risk pets who otherwise wouldn’t be able to receive necessary care to survive.”

More than 600 shelter dogs and cats will be chartered on the Hercules C-130 plane on Wednesday and is scheduled to arrive at Seattle’s Boeing field in the late morning of Thursday.