The Wild Blog, part 3

Laura with Amore

Love really has been in the air this week, as everyone has fallen in love with our first otter cub of the season! She arrived just before Valentine’s Day, and so had to be given a fitting name. After much debate Amore was chosen, which is the Italian word for love. Little Amore was found hidden in some reeds calling for her mother. As it was so cold and she had been calling for a while we were concerned about her, so Head of Animal Care Laura and animal carer Sarah went out to assess the situation. They rescued her with nets and bought her back to our centre. Laura has been acting as her surrogate mother by bottle feeding her, and will teach her to swim. Amore has already proved herself to be a bit of a star and has captured the interest of BBC Somerset, who came out to take photos of her and interview Laura!

 

We have had lots of children on site during the week, as Ellie, our learning and education officer has been running three Wild Academy sessions: Brilliant Birds, Winter Wildlife and Tremendous Trees. These sessions are great, as

Children making bird feeders

they let children learn and explore nature through hands on learning. The wet weather didn’t spoil things and the youngsters were spotted exploring the site and woods with their raincoats and wellies on! They all seemed to enjoy themselves – especially Ellie! There are lots more sessions throughout the year – visit the learning section to find out more.

 

 

Pauline hard at work

Our reception area has been having a bit of a makeover. Reception is the first point of call for visitors and it was looking a little bit tired. Never one to shy away from a bit of hard work our Charity Founder Pauline has been painting the walls a bright green colour, sweeping and rearranging the stock. It’s now looking much more welcoming. We have lots of lovely items for sale in the shop so why not pop in and have a browse!

 

 

One very lucky gull!

This lucky gull was bought in from Clevedon by our response driver Cindy. He had been hit by a lorry and two cars, but seems to have escaped serious injury. Our animal carers assessed him, and it looks like he is just stunned, but they will be keeping a close eye on him for the next few days. Response drivers like Cindy are so important to us, as they rescue animals in need and bring them to us for treatment. We have a dedicated team of them that jump into action when called, but can always do with more! If you are interested visit the volunteer section and find out more.

THE WILD BLOG, PART 2

The saying ‘the show must go on’ has never been more true for us than it was this week. We operate seven days a week, and have numerous animals on site who need care and help. This means that whatever the weather or the circumstances our animal care team have to look after them. This is challenging at the best of times, but even more so in the dark! At the beginning of the week we had a power outage on site. Luckily we had light in the hospital room, but our Millie Block, where we rehabilitate animals, was in darkness. Showing true resilience our amazing team donned head torches and carried on! Big thanks to the electricians who came out and fixed it the next day.

You may have seen in the news this week the report that hedgehog numbers are declining. In the 1950s the population was estimated to be at 30 million, but that has plummeted to fewer than one million today, with a third of this loss thought to have taken place in the past decade. Because of this report we have received a lot of media interest in the last few days, and our Founder Pauline Kidner was interviewed on BBC Radio Somerset. She spoke about why numbers were declining, with habitat loss, new roads and housing developments, and the use of pesticides all contributing.  Our message to people wanting to help the hedgehogs is to make their gardens more accessible, by leaving holes in fences so that the animals can pass through easily. This will help them in their hunt for food, and suitable places to hibernate.

Rory and Mina, two hedgehogs we treated last year

This report was very timely as this week our Learning and Engagement Officer Ellie had students from Westhaven School onsite learning about how they can help hedgehogs. They also built a hedgehog shelter, which they are looking forward to putting in their school grounds! Education is very important to us, as by inspiring a love and understanding of wildlife and the countryside in children will help to ensure that they are protected for generations to come.

 

And finally we said goodbye to swans Ant and Dec, who left us to go back to the wild. They came in to us separately as juvenile rescues. They were placed in a pen together and become friends, so when it was time to release them we decided they should go together. Volunteers Graeme and Vicki took them for a release. Graeme said: “We know where to take them and it’s so good to set them free and watch them join the others in the field. There can be anything up to 30 in a field and they are such majestic animals.”

Ant and Dec explore their surroundings.

The Wild Blog, Part 1

Welcome to the new blog for Secret World. Each week we will take you behind the scenes of our site, letting you know what has been happening during the week.

This week the weather has been very temperamental, one moment it’s gloriously sunny and you think Spring is on the way, and the next you are caught in a sudden downpour as you run from one porta cabin to another! This has been especially trying for our builders who have been out in all weathers. Our site has been undergoing some essential building work on new aviaries and pens ready for the influx of orphaned badger and fox cubs and fledglings we are expecting any time from now.

 

The animal carers have been busy as usual, treating the wide variety of animals we see through our doors every day. This included a beautiful tawny owl that received a glancing blow from a car and suffered head injuries. She was left sitting at the side of the road and was very lucky not to have been more seriously hurt. She is currently in an incubator as she is in a state of shock, but she is expected to make a full recovery. It will then be important for us to get her back to where she came from as she is probably ready to start nesting.

 

 

One thing we all love here is when animals recover and we can release them. This week we saw two of our swans heading home. It is always a funny sight seeing the swans being taken for release as we carry them in Ikea bags. It may seem an odd choice, but they are really good for keeping the birds calm and stopping them from flapping their wings around as they are moved. Seeing them being released into the wild makes everything we do worthwhile. We wish them lots of luck!

While we have success stories every day we also unfortunately have to deal with loss too. We were all sad to lose a fox overnight that despite everyone’s best efforts was just too ill to survive. We give every animal that comes through our doors the best possible chance of survival but this doesn’t always work out and when we lose any animal it affects us all.

Ending on a happier note this week our resident foxes had their annual vet check and vaccinations.  Megan, Mia and April live at Secret World because they were reared by people wanting them as pets. They now cannot be released as they are too tame. Thankfully all three foxes were given a clean bill of health and were soon back scampering around their enclosure.