Help us ensure that all our animals are cared for during Covid-19
These extraordinary times are threatening our cherished sanctuary. Like many smaller seasonally sensitive wildlife sanctuaries we’re highly dependant on our visitation income to enable us to pay for our overheads and fund our charitable work. An unprecedented wet February and now the Covid -19 pandemic are putting us under enormous financial stress.
Charlotte, Chris and The Wildheart Trust
Our founder, Charlotte Corney, grew up surrounded by wild animals and has personally cared for over ninety big cats, often acting as a foster mum to abandoned cubs from zoos and safari parks.
With the support of her partner, wildlife campaigner and broadcaster, Chris Packham, and other devoted friends and professionals, she took a leap of faith in 2017 by setting up a charity, The Wildheart Trust, to secure a future for her work rescuing abused animals.
We’re a close-knit family of volunteers, staff and trustees who get out of bed everyday determined to make a difference to the lives of emotionally and physically broken animals.
The last few years have been a rollercoaster ride for our small but talented team building an action-driven charity from the bottom up. We all feel that we’ve made great progress so far and have bucket-loads of energy and ambition left to nurture and grow our work.
We believe with a passion that everybody has the power to convert their care into action to make the world a fairer and kinder place for wildlife.
We provide vital forever homes to big cats
In this digital age none of us can escape the scale of horrific animal abuse and suffering going on around the world everyday but we can do something about it.
Here’s where the Wildheart Trust steps in. . . We provide loving, forever homes to rescued big cats and other animals that are unwanted and literally have nowhere else to go. It’s always a deeply moving experience to see them arriving at their new home overlooking the golden Sandown Bay.
Once we’ve taken them under our wing our first priority is always earning their trust while getting to know them as individuals so that the healing can begin. From lizards to lions to lemurs they all have unique characters, just like our pets at home, and of course they also come with emotional baggage that we need to start unpacking.
Meet our wonderful team
We’re so lucky to have the perfect people on board to deliver personalised and professional care to these lost souls– and always with lashings of love on top! Being on a limited budget means that every animal carers’ input counts from the minute they arrive in the morning to prepare scrummy (sometimes cooked!) breakfasts to the time they turn off the lights and bid their furry friends goodnight.
Given that prevention is better than cure, our team are constantly working alongside our super special vets devising all sorts of health and enrichment programmes for the mind and body but when, envitabley, any of our animals do get sick we pull out all the stops to make them better. This is when the work put into gaining their trust really pays off – most of our longer-term residents will allow us to do a whole raft of stuff, like take blood samples or monitor their heart rate, for high currency tasty rewards or a bit of extra affection!
Help us protect our big cat sanctuary
Over the last few years we’ve welcomed five adorable tigers (Mondo, Girona, Antonella, Zoppa and Natasha) and two gentle giant lions (Vigo and Khuma) into our big cat sanctuary. While at the mercy of travelling circuses in Spain these defenceless animals were the victims of unimaginable neglect and cruelty living hellish lives confined within squalid beast-wagons or crammed into tiny pens where they were left to fight for scrapes of food in between performances.
Thanks to some successful fundraising campaigns we’ve been able to turn their fortunes around.
Vigo and Kumba could hardly contain their joy recently when they were presented with a fabulous new indoor facility equipped with all the creature comforts missing from their previous lives.
And all of our other animal friends
Mc’Lovin the mongoose lemur
Other cherished members of our animal family include Mc’Lovin the illegally wild caught mongoose lemur from Madagascar who lived on-board a ship as a sailors pet before being confiscated in the UK.
Grant and Satler the coati-mundis
Grant and Satler, the coati-mundis were seized by the RSPCA from filthy conditions in a private collection where they were kept imprisoned in travel boxes, when he arrived Grant was wearing a leather harness which had grown deep into his skin.
Myara the marmoset
Myara, one of our marmosets, was rescued from the primate pet trade – she’d been confined to life inside a bird-cage and couldn’t even climb due to inexperience and severe nutritional deficiencies.
We make connections and help to conserve habitats
All of our animals have tales to be told. Our bright and brilliant education team bring their moving stories to life in order to raise awareness of the plight of animals across the globe and motivate people to join the movement to end animal cruelty and persecution be that in the wild or captivity.
We like to think that we offer an oasis of hope where people can come together to share their passion for nature and learn more about how to protect it. This, we feel, is one of the most important things we do: opening minds, set hearts on fire and connecting people to the natural world and. . . each other!
Alongside our animal welfare imperative we get stuck into conservation in Madagascar and India while here on the Isle of Wight we roll up our sleeves to help with in-situ projects in our own backyard. We do lots of other cool stuff too like train professional animal carers; contribute to non-invasive research; advise international wildlife educators and so the list goes on. . .
We are now dealing with the frightening reality of forced closure
At this time of year we are always at our financially most vulnerable coming out of the quiet winter months with our funds at their lowest point. Usually we’re rejoicing at the sound of Spring promising to bear financial fruits. But. . .
The Covid-19 crisis has hit us hard and we’re now experiencing catastrophic loss of vital income. As of Tuesday 24th March we were forced to close following government guidelines- something we could never have imagined in our wildest nightmares. We now have zero income coming in through the doors and so are totally reliant on donations from this point onwards. We're operating on skeleton staff and doing all we can to cut costs and find creative solutions to ease and push back the financial strain but there is only so much we can do to close the gap.
Our already significantly decreased footfall in the lead up to the forced closure has made a very hole hole in admissions and sales and the persistent rain has left us having to find additional funds to put towards making our beautiful, mainly outdoor home, habitable for both animals and visitors.
We've made a pledge to protect our treasured animals’ lives. Please help us to fulfil our promise.
We cannot fail our treasured animals who’s lives we’ve pledged to secure. The quality of their lives cannot be degraded and they must not be put at risk. We’re determined to find a way to continue to provide them with the essentials (food, bedding, veterinary care and supplies, staffing) that they need. They’re worth fighting for!
Being brutally honest with ourselves, we know that we’ll need to raise substantial funds from donations in order to survive this crisis and keep our sanctuary going so we can continue our critical mission to provide forever homes to rescued animals.
We know that this is going to be a financially stressful time all round so our message is please just donate whatever you can, all the pounds add up and will make a tangible difference to our animals. Don't forget to Gift Aid your donation!
With love and gratitude during testing times.
From all at The Wildheart Trust