Many of you will know that we have our own Release Coordinator who searches for release sites for the orphans that come through our doors. It means that most of our orphans go to new homes by first going into temporary aviaries or enclosures to get used to their surroundings. Even when released, they have the option to come back for food until they are self-sufficient. We now have a new coordinator, Charlotte Wroe, who has been with us for many years working in all departments at Secret World including fundraising and animal care before moving into the position at the end of last summer. Unfortunately, we have a problem as our 4 x 4 is slowly dying and will not pass its next MOT. The truck is fundamental to the work of moving equipment and animals to their release site. It is an expensive item to replace so we are using our Spring Appeal to try and raise funds towards it.
Some of you, I know, would rather donate for a particular item, so we have mentioned other items of varying prices that will help Charlotte in her work, but any funds towards the truck would be very welcome. So much of her work is crossing farmland so the vehicle must be able to cope with those conditions.
Vehicles are very expensive at the moment, and even a second hand one would be at least £20,000.
We are very conscious of the use of plastic so we hope to buy Velcro cable ties to replace plastic ones – they cost £30 for the roughly 100 pieces required to assemble a fox or badger enclosure, and these could be used again. We monitor behaviour with trail cameras in the pens as well as when the juveniles are released to make sure the release is successful. Solar trail cameras would save the large amount of batteries that are used by the normal trail cameras which is all extra cost and waste. With the trail cameras costing approximately £100 and lithium batteries with a charger at a cost of £20, there will be a considerable saving through the year as well as being far more efficient. Transporting the animals and moving them between enclosures and vehicles means that, at times, we need more cages designed to hold the badgers and foxes safely. These cages have the right mesh so that the animals don’t damage their teeth if trying to bite the cages. Each of those cages would cost £200 but will last for many years.
Charlotte has already been digging over the pre-release pens at our centre, ready for them to be reseeded as soon as the weather allows. She has become a very proficient digger driver! Charlotte is already surveying areas ready for release, but we are concerned that without a reliable vehicle, the assembling of enclosures and aviaries could be delayed. As a supporter, we always contact you to see if you are able to help us with these appeals, but we are very aware that the cost of living is increasing. We would therefore completely understand if you are unable to help. It has been a challenging two years when we have been very fortunate to be able to continue as an essential service, but fundraising has been challenging. We sincerely hope that we will be having open days again in 2022 so that we can meet up again with our friends. We have missed you. With best wishes, Pauline Kidner Founder and Advisor