The days are getting shorter, it’s getting colder, and our British wildlife is preparing itself for the winter. Secret World Wildlife Rescue in East Hunstpill, is making an appeal for donations for the animals to see them through the winter months.
Christmas is a time for giving and we don’t want our animals to be forgotten about. It would be wonderful if they were able to enjoy a little treat during the festive season and people can help through our Shoebox Appeal.
We are asking members of the public and schools to get involved and send us shoeboxes filled with goodies that will help us look after the wild animals in our care throughout the winter.
This social movement has been raising awareness of the need to raise global animal welfare standards. T.V’s Chris Packham is getting behind the event and challenging wildlife lovers to raise money for British wildlife. As one of the south wests biggest wildlife charities we too are supporting World Animal Day. Chris Packham, one of our patrons commented “Secret World is caring for British Wildlife in an amazing way. They are wonderful people doing wonderful things”. We are asking for support to get us through what is looking like being a busy Winter period. As little as £3 will feed a poorly bird and every penny counts. The challenge made by the television presenter comes after one of our long standing supporters completed a 1600mile motorcycle journey in aid of Secret World. Robin Seymour visited 26 Harley Davidson dealerships around England, Wales and Scotland. Robins challenge took him from Surrey to Scotland and back to our centre in East Huntspill. To donate to Robins challenge, visit his just giving page ‘Robin Seymour Ironhog 2018’.
Two of the incredible seabirds and rare inland visitors have been brought to Secret World over the past few days. These enigmatic birds are ocean wanderers, mating for life, they usually only come to land to breed on grassy clifftop slopes but breeding season is over making their arrival especially unusual. The bird was collected by one of our volunteer response drivers and when it arrived at our centre created quite a stir. Amazingly, the very next day another Manx Shearwater was found when it walked in to a house in Taunton. Spending most of their lives at sea, these birds have not developed a fear of humans so the homeowner would likely have had quite a shock.
Both birds were assessed at Secret World, stabilised and then transferred to RSPCA West Hatch where they have special facilities for sea birds. Animal carer Dan Bryant said “It was amazing to see the birds but right that we should pass them on to West Hatch who have experience of these incredible birds”.
This beautiful small bat was found clinging on to the grill of a car. This amazing and usual sight must have been a shock for the kindly person who alerted us to it. These little bats were only identified as a separate species in 1970 and news of its arrival spread quickly through our team. The bat is now being cared for by our animal carers. Look out for next weeks blog to get an update on its progress.
Cirque de Secret World
Dont forget that our circus themed ball and auction is next week on 13th October. This is sure to be a great night with life music and entertainment. See our website for details.
A swan which had been unable to eat has been brought in to Secret World to receive the care it needs. A member of public spotted the bird at Portishead Nature Reserve who saw that it appeared hungry and distressed so it was brought in to the centre to be assessed. The lump was found to be grass or mud after being removed by the animal carers and the swan was then given fluids to rehydrate before being out in a pen to recuperate from its ordeal. Once he is fit enough he will be released back where he was found, whenever possible animals are released back where they are found as it is familiar and they will be easily able to access food and water. In 2017 Secret World treated 212 water birds.
Gannet in Distress
Another water bird which has been admitted to us this week is a Gannet which had been blown in land from the coast in the recent stormy weather. Luckily, a homeowner spotted the unusual garden visitor grounded and in need of help. The bird was brought in to our centre to be assessed and was found to be cold and wet but with no obvious injuries so was given fluids and warmed up, he was then put in a pen to get some rest. Once the gannet was fit enough he was transferred to to West Hatch RSPCA who had other birds he could mix with in their pre-release facilities. Once he is fit and healthy he he will be released back by the sea.
Three tiny and helpless baby hedgehogs are being hand reared by one of our volunteers after sadly being abandoned by their mother. The tiny hoglets had been cowering under a shed, one baby had crawled out in search of its mother who was nowhere to be seen and after being spotted by the homeowner Secret World were alerted. They were brought straight to us and were found to have no injuries but were far too tiny to fend for themselves.Volunteer Jenny Warring is now caring for the trio off site which enables her to feed them every few hours around the clock. It is vital they put on enough weight before they are released to allow them to hibernate through the winter months, if they are arent able to they will stay in Secret Worlds hedgehog hotel “Hogwarts” until spring when they will be released when the weather is warmer. Currently Secret World is caring for 50 Hedgehogs but this number is expected to swell as Autumn and Winter are testing times for these declining animals.
A tawny owl which had been treated here at Secret World and was about to be released back in to the wild has been found to be suffering from an eye ulcer. Its release was delayed while a vet examined the owl which has now been given the all clear.
It is really important that we have suitable sites to release wildlife once they have made a full recovery. With this in mind we were delighted when local holiday resort Unity dedicated a piece of woodland on their site to us for releases. Pre-release pens and aviaries have been constructed in the woodland and a new hide has been built so visitors can engage with the woodland wildlife. We are always looking for sites which are suitable for releasing the wild animals that have successfully completed their rehabilitation. We always aim to release adult animals to the spot they were found where food and water supplies are familiar, but orphaned animals have to be released to a new location. Our release manager Jamie Kingscott said “This year we have been able to release several different animals in to the woods at unity farm, which is not only great for our rescued wildlife but also for the woodland ecosystem. Mick (the head gardener at Unity Farm) has been a huge help, always keen to put his skills to good use to help wildlife, and we are very grateful for it.”
This week we have around 50 hedgehogs on site, and this figure is set to rise dramatically with the onset of autumn and winter. The colder months are testing times for hedgehogs as food sources will be in short supply. When they arrive at Secret World they are underweight and often suffering from parasites. We feed the hedgehogs on a diet of meaty cat food in jelly and cat biscuits to help build their strength up. This can get expensive when we have a lot of hungry mouths to feed, and so we are asking for donations to help get our prickly patients through the winter season. Animal care section leader Dan Bryant said “We are expecting a lot more hedgehogs to be admitted over the winter, when nights get colder and they struggle to find food. Feeding and treating them becomes expensive and stretches our resources so we are asking for donations of cat food and biscuits to help the little creatures put on the weight they need to get through hibernation.”
Our beautiful resident Tawny Owl, Star, has had a visit from the vet this week after some attempted amorous behavior with a wild interloper! Star has suffered from damage to the top of her beak after trying to get to a wild owl on the other side of her pen. She has been left with a small injury which has been assessed and treated by a vet, and she will soon be back to normal!
We need your help foraging for food for 5 energetic squirrel orphans. We try to feed our orphaned squirrels on the food they would naturally find in their habitat, so with this in mind we are asking for your help to search out their favourite foods in parks, woodlands and even your garden. This will help us get them fighting fit and ready to be released. Foraging is a great way to get out in the countryside and learn more about these precious habitats, especially in the name of helping these youngsters.
A newborn red deer calf, found abandoned by the side of the road, is set to make a full recovery later this year thanks to the animal care specialists at Secret World Wildlife Rescue in East Huntspill, Somerset.
The deer was found collapsed and crying for its mother at the side of a road between Badgers Holt and Wheddon Cross in Somerset by a vigilant member of the public.
Animal carers at Secret World Wildlife Rescue in Somerset found out that caring for wildlife is not always glamorous after rescuing a buzzard which became trapped in a sewage pit. Laura Benfield and Jade Robuffo, both resident animal carers at the charity, drew the short straw and were tasked with giving the bird a thorough wash.
This week has seen a special visitor to Secret World in the form of a water vole. It was exciting for us, as these rare creatures are seen in decreasing numbers due to habitat degradation. This lucky Vole, who we have called Walter, had found himself washed out to sea. Incredibly, he managed to find his way back to shore. Having been given a full check over and some rest in his very own swimming pool, Walter has now been released back in to the wild. We were sad to see him go, but glad that he has been given a second chance back in his natural habitat.
On a slightly less pleasant note, a buzzard was brought in by our response driver Cindy after getting stuck in a slurry pit at West Hunstspill Sewage Treatment Works. The very smelly bird was given a wash straight away! Once he was dry and feeding he was placed in an aviary exclusion pen to be given the best chance of recovery and to build up muscle. He is now looking majestic and is set to be released soon. Laura Benfield, who is our head of animal care, said “It is likely that the buzzard was after a small mammal running over the crust of the effluent material, but his weight made him sink in and he was unable to get out”.
Have you been following our work and wondered how you could help us? One way is by becoming a volunteer response driver. This crucial and exciting role is a vital link in the chain of getting sick and injured animals the help they need. We need people to pick up injured animals and bring them to us, and also to assist in releasing animals once they have recovered. You can put your name down for hours to suit your availability. If this sounds like something you are interested in then you can find out more on the volunteer section of the website.
There were lots of smiles (and a few scared faces – mostly from the parents) onsite this week as we held our first Wild and Deadly Wednesday of the Summer! Nick Wadham hosted his special Wild and Deadly show, where he showcased a variety of creepy crawlies. A particular highlight (for the kids at least) was when they got to nominate their parents to hold the tarantula! We also ran some great craft activities, and visitors had the chance to see our resident animals, including the birds of prey, foxes and badgers. If you missed it, and think that this sounds right up your street, come along on the 15th or 22nd August, 12 – 4pm. It’s £4 for adults and £2 for children, and promises to be a fun afternoon out for all ages!
At the moment we have 3 lovely fawns onsite: Sweetpea, Daffodil and Jasmin, who are being looked after in our fawn paddock. Sweetpea is a red deer, who was found at the side of the road. She had stomach problems and animal carers were concerned about her sight. After treatment and being bottle fed Sweetpea improved, and was put in the fawn paddock with Daffodil, a fallow deer that had been hit by a car. Daffodil had head, neck and leg wounds, and when found it was touch and go whether he would survive. However he surprised staff with his recovery and fight to survive. The last deer, Jasmin, a roe, was found lying in a ditch at the side of the road. Fawn is usually the term we use for baby deer but in fact the only one that is truly a fawn is the fallow. The Red is called a calf and a roe is called a kid – however fawn is the term usually used as the accepted name for a baby deer.
These young deer will remain with us until the autumn where they will be taken to a release site monitored by the land owner. This will the responsibility of Jamie Kingscott, who is the Wildlife Release Manager at Secret World. We are always looking for release sites for many different species so if you have land that may be useful, please ring Jamie on 01278 783250 or email Jamie.Kingscott@secretworld.org.
This weekend our resident birds of prey will be out in Weston-super-Mare, on the Grand Pier. Why not pop along and meet them. You will be able to chat to our bird handlers all about them, and find out how they came to be at Secret World. Each owl has an interesting story to tell!
We have been engaging with lots of our younger supporters this week, both on and off site. This is so important to us, as these children are the future, and by teaching them to appreciate and look after wildlife we are protecting it for years to come. We had two well attended Wild Academy sessions, focusing on birds of prey, and reptiles and amphibians. Our Wild Academy workshops encourage children to find out about the natural world around them through games, crafts and outdoor activities. The children who attended certainly seemed to enjoy themselves! We also attended an organised play day in Apex Park, where we made over 250 seed bombs with children!
This week we have had a lot of birds in, including two cygnets who were abandoned by their parents. The two tiny birds were found alone as their parents had flown away. They were too small to fly as their wing feathers had not developed and they were unable to get off the ground.A member of the public found them, and delivered them to us, where their condition was assessed. Both birds were found to be in good health, just too young to be left out alone. They are now flourishing in one of our outside paddocks, where they will stay until they are stronger and their flight feathers have developed. Once this has happened a suitable release site will be found for them, one where there are other swans that they can join.
Another happy story this week involved four tiny sparrows. We had a call from a member of the public who found three tiny sparrows who had recently hatched, and one cracked egg on the ground. The recent rain had destroyed their nest, leaving them to fall to the floor. They came in to us, where they were put into an incubator. The three birds were so tiny they were not expected to survive, but miraculously they did. In another twist of fate the cracked egg is now hatching, meaning the last bird will soon be joining its siblings. The sparrows are in our hospital room, where they are receiving round the clock care and hourly feeds. At this time of year our hospital rooms are full of tiny birds, who are all casualties of the weather. Many arrived during the hot spells, when they fell out of their nests due to the heat. Thanks to our dedicated animal care staff and volunteers who are caring for them all!
The first otter cub rescued by Secret World Wildlife Rescue this year has returned to the rescue centre to continue its recovery with another otter.
Amoré the otter was rescued by the charity in February. After a period of recovery under the care of staff at Secret World, Amoré was transferred to another animal care centre to be paired with another orphaned otter.