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Is it working?

Our aim at Secret World Wildlife Rescue is to rescue, rehabilitate and release – giving the casualty a second chance in the wild. With adults, it’s easy because we always make sure that they return back to where they came from. So, if it’s a Blackbird from Taunton, once fully recovered, it will be taken back to Taunton. This means it will know its territory, where to find food and where to hide and sleep.

With orphaned animals, they won’t be returned to where they came from as they would be chased away by their parents, so a new home is found for them. An aviary or enclosure is put up at their release site so that they can get used to their surroundings before they are released. Having been fed for a couple of weeks in their temporary accommodation, once released they can come back and get food until they are finding enough for themselves.

These are systems that we have gained experience from but how do we know if the animals are surviving? Post monitoring is really important because if these animals are not surviving, we shouldn’t be doing it. Results can be achieved in various ways, although they are always labour intensive. We have in the past fur clipped foxes that we have released and been able to find out that they can still be seen the following year.

The most important invention was the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) which is technology gained from cat flaps that only allow the cat with the correct microchip to enter a house. This technology has been improved so that the frame can read and record microchips of animals passing through. This can be an owl box, or placed on a badger path, feeding tube or sett entrance (although this requires a licence). The owl box tells us how long the owls keep coming back for food and when the RFID is used for badgers, it can be taken back to release sites to see if they are still there, even after several years.

Ringing of birds is another way that we can tell if our birds are surviving. One year we rung all our sea birds. One of our birds was seen in Madrid, another in Portugal and one outside the fish and chip shop at Burnham on Sea, so a real mix of sightings! There is a huge amount of care, time and effort goes into saving these casualties and it is only right that we make sure that we really do give them the best possible chance of surviving when they go back to the wild.

Do you have land that may be suitable as a release site? If so, please contact Charlotte Wroe, our Wildlife Release Co-Ordinator, on 01278 768707 or 0746 3002567. 

Pauline K           February 29th 2024

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