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Protect Wildlife and Communities

by Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital in Chichester, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 28th June 2022 we successfully raised £11,725 ( + est. £6.25 Gift Aid ) with 470 supporters in 42 days

Help us adapt our facilities and services so that we can provide care and treatment to wildlife.

by Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital in Chichester, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

Wow we have smashed our original target! Any additional funding will help us care for wildlife casualties.


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ABOUT US

Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital based in Sidlesham, near Chichester, cares for over 3,000 wildlife casualties every year. Established over 50 years ago we are one of the largest wildlife rehabilitation hospitals in the South of the UK. Our mission is to provide care, treatment and rehabilitation to wildlife casualties to get them healthy for release back to their natural habitats.

Our baby wildlife season is well underway for the hospital team and the first of our garden nestlings and fledglings have started arriving for this season. We are also starting to receive Our first duckling groups as well as fox cubs, baby rabbits, badger cubs and deer fawn. These are just the first of many baby birds and mammals to arrive in our care, we anticipate that over 1,200 casualties will be admitted over the spring/summer months. Here are a few of the casualties we expect to admit and treat.1652015911_1613052497_picture.png1652015896_1613052443_picture.png

1652015880_1613052353_picture.pngWe are only a few weeks into our busy admission season, and we are already providing around the clock care to the influx of seasonal wildlife casualties. We currently have 21 fox cubs in our care, with this number growing each week. We are also caring for a baby roe deer fawn who was found alone and exposed and, despite everyone’s best efforts, could not be reunited with his mother. Now over 2 weeks old he is eating well and growing fast. He is still very unstable on his feet so we have lined his enclosure with towels so he can gain strength in his legs. Once he is stronger, he will move outside to grow, develop and prepare for release.

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OUR FACILITIES

Providing care to wildlife casualties requires specialist training to provide expert animal care and specially adapted facilities to provide rehabilitation to wildlife. Here are just some of the facilities and enclosures we have onsite.1652016543_picture1.png1652016583_picture2.png

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THE RISING RISK OF BIRD FLU

For the first time in our 50 year history, due to the rising risk of Avian Influenza (bird flu) in the UK, the Charity had to make the difficult decision to temporarily suspend bird admissions from entering the site. With many birds on site recovering at the time of the outbreak, at first, we were incredibly cautious with admissions. However, when in November 2021 a confirmed case in a mute swan was discovered just 3 miles away from us, it was clear we needed to protect birds already recovering in our care. 

Due to the highly infectious nature of the H5N1 Avian Influenza strain, this has been the highest recorded outbreak in UK history. There have been over 100 confirmed cases of the current outbreak, previously the highest recorded was less than 30 cases. Experts have claimed that climate change is one of the main factors of the increase in bird flu outbreaks and is causing thousands of birds to either be humanely killed, suffer unnecessarily or die from these nasty diseases.

Bird Flu is a notifiable disease, which means any bird suspected to have the disease must be reported to DEFRA (Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). If a bird was presented to us and then test positive, it is very likely that compulsory control measures would be imposed on us by DEFRA. This could sadly mean the humane euthanasia of all avian patients (healthy and sick) on our site. This could also result in the temporary closure of the entire site for up to 9 months, which would mean we could not treat any animals. Unfortunately, since the current outbreak a number of wildlife centres across the UK have had to temporarily close their doors and have all of their bird patients euthanised. 

To reduce the risk of this happening to us, our team have worked incredibly hard to navigate through the situation. Thankfully, at the time of writing this many of the enforced restrictions have now been lifted. However, we are still having to be extremely cautious as there could still be new cases reported.

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HOW IS CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECTING BIRDS

Climate change is one of the biggest factors impacting nature in the UK. Not only has it increased the chances of outbreaks of new or  stronger strains of disease  for wildlife and humans but it is also affecting our weather patterns and temperatures.

Migratory birds are hugely affected by the weather. Research suggests that climate change could be causing a decline in their numbers across Europe, as well as depleted food sources due to changes in farming practices. Studies have shown that migratory birds are returning to their breeding areas in poor condition, carrying disease and are laying fewer eggs than previously. 

As the temperate increases in the UK and natural wildlife habitats start to change, some birds are being forced to move northwards in search of a new home. Scientists predict that as a result some rare breeding birds are at high risk of extinction in the UK, as their homes here start to change and disappear.

Due to these dramatic declines the IUCN Red List of UK’s most endangered birds now accounts for more than a quarter of the UK’s 245 bird species, with the swift and house martin added to recent assessments. Thankfully, swallow numbers are on the rise thanks to UK’s conservation efforts.  

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HOW CAN YOU HELP US PROTECT BIRDS

During a recent seminar, many wildlife centres and veterinary professionals came together to discuss effective bio security protocols. We are closely following guidelines published by DEFRA to help animal care sanctuaries and hospitals in the UK, should another outbreak occur - which is highly likely. As we continue to navigate our way through these challenging times, our animal care and local veterinary teams are working closely together to ensure our bio security measures are up to standard on site.  

In light of the bird flu outbreak and the additional measures we must now put in place, we are fundraising to improve our bio security and animal enclosures. These improvements  will enable us to safely house wildlife admissions, until they have passed a period of isolation and are considered fit and clear from any disease to enter the site for ongoing treatment. 

The construction of Isolation Units onsite will need to have power for lighting, heaters and incubators. Water supply is needed for a small washroom to clean and fill food/water bowls, as well as to clean patients and their enclosures. There will need to be foot baths outside of each of the units for staff to clean footwear before entering.

Unfortunately, there is no treatment for bird flu but for those birds who are considered 'fit' to enter the site will be provided with the treatment they need and hopefully get them healthy for release back to the wild.

We hope that all of these new upgrades and facilities will help us to continue to provide the best level of care that we can for wildlifr in the hopes we can increase their chances of a successful release. We aim to contribute towards the UK’s efforts to increase their numbers in the wild as well as combat the impact of climate change on birds and other wildlife.

Thank you for supporting our vital work and helping to make our project possible.

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