As alot of you will know the minority of wildlife rescue in the UK is done in large centres. The majority of the work is done by small back garden rescues – which is why it has always infuriated me when people make comments about how wildlife rescues don’t belong in back gardens, or how somewhere is a lot smaller than they thought it would be when they find out it’s not a large centre.
If you go onto Help Wildlife (a website which lists rescues around the UK) you will find that the majority of the rescues listed are run from back gardens and homes. People who run these rescues often fund most of the costs themselves, give up space, privacy, holidays and a large amount of freedom to do this work. One of my all-time favourite rescues Withington Hedgehog Hospital is run from a semi-detached house in Manchester – by a lady who has sacrificed pretty much any life that isn’t related to looking after hedgehogs.
There are a lot of reasons why smaller rescues work better – we have less overheads for one – so donations can go on what they were intended for rather than things like marketing, volunteer expenses etc. (I can’t be the only one who tries to work out how much an advert for a charity must have cost when it pops up on screen). The Teams are generally smaller so procedures and policies are easier to implement and each bird is usually treated by one person so their care is overseen by one set of eyes.
That’s not to say that larger rescues with their own premises aren’t amazing too – and yes, if I had my own land I’d be able to run the centre I’ve always dreamed of running. Wildlife should be a part of everyone’s life and the centre I have planned is one that will encourage that with education, art and play. I want to show the healing benefits of wildlife / animals and how they can help with mental health, learning and healing.
Growing up I would have loved to live near a wildlife rescue – I don’t think I would ever have been away. There is so much to learn and so many things to see. Currently we have woodpeckers, baby rabbits, tiny blackbird babies…. the list is endless. One of my favourite memories was when a little girl and her Mum came with a poorly bird. The little girl was wearing a beautiful sundress and yet when she went outside she threw herself down onto the garden to play with the chickens and said she wanted to move in. She was smiling so widely and she could actually name most of the types of bird that we had in at the time.
Wildlife might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it is in everyone’s interest to look after it. Even those insects that we barely notice play a vital role in keeping the world working as it should. Wildlife isn’t just meant for fields and woodlands – it’s meant to be everywhere and we should encourage that.