Charity of the month: Wildlife Welfare in Stevenage
PUBLISHED: 12:30 25 July 2016 | UPDATED: 12:17 26 July 2016
Thousands of orphaned, sick and injured wild animals from across the county and beyond have been rehabilitated and released thanks to the work of Stevenage-based Wildlife Welfare
‘The need to care for a wild creature that was injured or orphaned was in my blood from the day I was born,’ says Wildlife Welfare founder Caroline Huxtable.
The charity is based in Stevenage and was set up in 1993 by Caroline with the support of family, friends and local vets. The aim of the charity is to nurse sick, injured and orphaned wild birds and mammals back to health until they are well enough to be returned to their natural habitat. It also promotes awareness and understanding of the natural environment and educates the public in ways to help our local wildlife.
Caroline and her volunteer team cover Hertfordshire as well as some areas of Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. They have a small wildlife hospital and a 14-acre ‘soft release’ site, where animals can make the transition back to the wild. Last year the charity cared for around 300 animals, with more than 70 per cent released back into the wild.
‘We always soft release our patients and follow up with trap cameras, so we don’t just open the door and say bye, bye. It’s important to us to ensure they survive and we’re not releasing them to their doom. My view is that each one we release is like a small grain of sand, and if we release enough that will become a beach. Hopefully in this way we will be able to turn the tide and see an increase in wildlife numbers rather than the decrease we are seeing.’
Most accident casualties, orphaned and sick animals are taken in, however the charity cannot take hedgehogs, amphibians and reptiles.
The website wildlifewelfare.org.uk has lots of clear and useful advice on what to do if you find a wide range of wild animals in trouble, including birds, deer, mice, squirells, bats, rabbits, hare, badger or fox in need of help. It also lists wildlife rescue centres by location and speciality across England and Wales.
If you find an animal in need of urgent help, call the Wildlife Welfare help line, 01438 313526. The line in open March to October between 10am–6pm every day of the week and from November to February 10am–5pm Monday to Friday. At all other times, contact a local wildlife friendly vet or the RSPCA.
To find out more about Wildlife Welfare, visit its website or like its Facebook page.
To support the work of the charity, visit the website and click the ‘support’ button and make a purchase from the ‘wish list’. Alternatively, fundraising events to raise much-needed funds are very welcome.