Wildlife resources

Wildlife science

There is very little published scientific information relating to the rehabilitation and release of British wildlife. At Secret World Wildlife Rescue we endeavour to work to the highest possible standards, making full use of the information that is available and, wherever possible, ensuring that our policies are evidence based.

We encourage scientific study where it benefits the animals. We try hard to keep good records of all we do with the animals that come into our care, our successes and failures, and change our policies based on these findings. We aim to publish, disseminate and discuss our knowledge wherever possible, sharing what we have found with others in the veterinary, scientific and rehabilitation communities.

We are lucky to have excellent support in what we do from the broader scientific community, especially our friends and colleagues at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to whom we extend our thanks.

Publications and presentations

In order to share our knowledge of wildlife rehabilitation generally and badger rehabilitation in particular, Secret World Wildlife Rescue frequently attends and presents work at scientific conferences nationally and internationally. Attendance at these is paid for by the organisers of the conference or by the individuals taking part rather than using charity funds.

We also lend our support to open letters and relevant petitions that aim to inform policy makers and influencers, particularly when there are concerns about proposed legislation and consultations on wildlife management and welfare issues.

Here are links to some of our conference posters, plus scientific and other publications:

Reasons for the presentation of badger (Meles meles) casualties to a Veterinary Hospital and outcomes following treatment.

Mullineaux, P. Kidner, S. Edwards 2008. European Wildlife Disease Association Conference, Rovinj, Croatia.

Enteropathogens of juvenile Eurasian badgers (Meles meles) – Diagnosis, treatment and control.

Barlow, E. Mullineaux, S. Cowen, P. Kidner, 2012. World and European Wildlife Disease Associations Conference, Lyon, France. Poster available here

Wildlife Groups and Bovine Tuberculosis, Opportunity or Threat?

Mullineaux, 2014. Sixth M. bovisConference, Cardiff, Wales. Poster available here

Current Management of Badger (Meles meles) Rehabilitation and Release in the UK, with Respect to Tuberculosis (M. bovis Infection) Risk.

Mullineaux, P. Kidner, 2014 Sixth M. bovis Conference, Cardiff, Wales. Poster available here

Veterinary Treatment and Rehabilitation of Indigenous Wildlife.

Mullineaux, 2014. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 55, 293–300. Available here

Protocol for the rehabilitation and release of badgers (Meles meles) in England, with consideration of Bovine tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis infection).

Mullineaux, J. Phoenix, P. Kidner, 2018 Proceedings of 13th European Wildlife Disease Association Conference, Larissa-Greece. Poster available here

Joint statement on captive breeding of hedgehogs in response to population decline.

This statement was prepared by trustees of the British Wildlife Rehabilitation Council. Thanks are also due to Dr Angela Thomas of Writtle University College for guidance on captive breeding procedures and pitfalls, and to Dr Elizabeth Mullineaux and Dr Romain Pizzi from BVZS, and to Fay Vass from BHPS for technical advice and editing.

The movement and survival of colour-ringed Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls following rehabilitation at Secret World Wildlife Rescue

Report by Mike Bailey on birds ringed and released after rehabilitation at SWWR between 2011 and 2013. Published in 2016 and reproduced here with thanks to the author.

Badger Protocol

Secret World Wildlife Rescue is especially recognised both nationally and internationally for its work with badgers, caring for adult animals and rearing badger cubs. We work hard to promote responsible and scientific rehabilitation practices regarding the testing of badgers for bovine tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis infection).


The Badger Rehabilitation Protocol (2018) edited by Secret World Wildlife Rescue’s Scientific Advisor Liz Mullineaux, and supported by Defra, Secret World Wildlife Rescue and the Badger Trust is available here

An article published on TBhub about the protocol can be viewed here https://www.tbhub.co.uk/tb-in-wildlife/tb-in-badgers/badger-rehabilitation/

An article published about the Protocol for vets in In Practice can be viewed here https://inpractice.bmj.com/content/41/5/198

Veterinary professionals

Secret World Wildlife Rescue understands that the veterinary profession, vets and vet nurses, may need help and advice when dealing with wildlife casualties. We are always happy to offer advice directly to veterinary professionals through our normal contact.


Resources for vets


Emergency care of Badgers.

In 2013 we produced an information sheet for veterinary surgeons on the Emergency Care of Badgers and this was sent to all vets in the Southwest. The sheet is available to download here

Basic Principles of Triage and First Aid in Wildlife Casualties.

In 2017 we sent information to veterinary practices throughout the south west to assist them with the initial care of wildlife casualties, especially overnight when Secret World Wildlife Rescue is closed for admissions. The sheet is available to download here

Shot badger guidance form.

A guidance form, produced by Wildlife and Badger Care, for veterinary surgeons when examining badgers with suspected gunshot injuries, such as might arise within the legal badger cull areas and illegally in other areas, is available to download here.

It should be remembered that where badgers may have been shot outside of the strict licence conditions within the cull areas that this is likely to constitute an offence under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 and these cases must be reported immediately to the police.

The BVZS Good Practice Guidelines for Wildlife Rehabilitation Centres are available here: https://www.bvzs.org/images/uploads/BVZS_Good_Practice_Guidelines_for_Wildlife_Centres_011016_.pdf

BSAVA Manual of Wildlife Casualties (2nd Edition) E. Mullineaux, E., Keeble, (Eds.) (2017) BSAVA Publications, Gloucester. Available from: https://www.bsavalibrary.com/content/book/10.22233/9781910443316


Secret World Wildlife Rescue runs courses specifically aimed at veterinary nurses and veterinary surgeons, as well as those for wildlife rehabilitators. See our Wildlife Courses page for more information and to book a place.

Scientific projects

Secret World Wildlife Rescue is keen to encourage appropriate scientific research that directly or indirectly benefits the animals we care for, provided this research does not in any way negatively impact upon them.

We have supported studies from college diploma level to post doctorate level and are keen to continue to do so. If you think you would like to carry out your research project at Secret World, in the first instance download and complete the Research Application Form.