It seems these days, wildlife news is dominated by big guys and big issues – elephant ivory trade, lion hunting, tiger farms, beached whales, rhino poaching.
Some could be forgiven for thinking that wildlife in need is somewhere overseas or that our own wildlife doesn’t really matter.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
When Born Free steps up for wildlife we mean ALL wildlife – as my colleagues Tarnya Knight and Celia Nicholls explain:
“Here in the UK we are blessed with a unique variety of wildlife species from hedgehogs, foxes and badgers, to deer, otters, bats and birds. But sadly they can face many threats and dangers. Every year numerous animals are injured and orphaned, and this is often because of humans.
Problems include road traffic accidents, entanglement in rubbish and fishing lines, poisoning by pesticides, attack by domestic pets, window ‘strikes’, and much more. These incidents take a huge toll, especially when, additionally, you factor in loss of habitat, intensive farming practices, hunting and building development.
Born Free and our Care For The Wild experts are fighting to protect the wonderful wild animals found here in the UK. Together with specialists from across the country, we rescue animals in need, providing the good food, special milk, medicines and expert care they need and preparing them for life back in the wild, whenever possible.
Our own rescue work and that undertaken by UK sanctuaries (run by dedicated staff and volunteers) means thousands of animals are effectively treated and the vast majority are successfully returned to the wild each year.”
It’s impressive and heart-warming to know that so many individual wild animals are being given a second chance, right here on our doorstep.
That’s why our latest Born Free raffle is raising funds specifically for native wildlife rescue, care and, where possible, release. If you’d like to play and contribute then don’t hesitate to call 01403 240170 or to enter the raffle online go to www.bornfree.org.uk/raffle
But you can also directly help UK wildlife. For example, Tarnya, Born Free’s UK wildlife carer, offers the following tips which could make a world of difference to a species that has suffered catastrophic declines in recent years – the hedgehog (Mrs Tiggywinkle).
Leave an area of your garden ‘wild’ – hedgehogs’ homes should be placed in a quiet and shaded area of the garden where they won’t be disturbed.
Avoid using slug pellets – many contain metaldehyde which will kill a range of wildlife, including hedgehogs.
If using netting on your plants, please make sure it’s at least a foot above the ground, otherwise hedgehogs can become entangled in the netting.
For anyone planning a bonfire, the easiest way to ensure that there will be no hedgehogs in the pile is to build it on the day you are going to light it, or by dismantling and moving it to clear ground before lighting.
If you have a pond, please make sure that it has one gently sloping side, or form a ramp out of chicken wire or something similar to create an escape route.
If you’re using a strimmer, always check the area beforehand in case any hedgehogs are in the long grass. Every year many animals suffer terrible injuries as a result of garden maintenance.
Finally, make a modest hole in your garden fence at ground level so that hedgehogs can roam freely from garden to garden.”
So, as Spring draws closer, let’s make a UK Wildlife-Friendly start to 2016