By Caroline, 22-May-2013 17:04:00
On Sunday we were called out to a tiny roe deer fawn that was found in the open in the middle of a field. Gary and Ross went out to assess the situation and decide whether or not she should be brought in as fawns are often left alone while mum goes off to feed.
Unfortunately she was not in the safe environment that fawns would normally be left in, she was out in the open with no cover whatsoever so it was decided that she should be brought in.
She was tiny and quite weak when she arrived but it didn't take her long to get used to taking a milk replacer from a bottle and has become much stronger in just 3 days.
This video was taken this morning just after she'd had her bottle :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUHvPWT52VE
By Caroline, 22-Apr-2013 20:44:00
I must apologise for not updating my blog for several weeks but I just haven't had the time to write it.
Now we are coming into our busy season, I will not be updating it very often but I will be keeping our Facebook Group updated (as it's a lot quicker & easier to add to) so please follow our work there. Go to
By Caroline, 10-Feb-2013 19:21:00
Do you fancy a working holiday?
Ever wondered what it's like working in a busy wildlife hospital?
Well now you can find out and experience the highs and lows of our work by applying for a work experience / volunteer placement at Vale Wildlife Hospital. We have several available weeks from March through to October.
More information is available on the 'Work Placements' page of the website: http://www.valewildlife.org.uk/#/work-placements/4539532988
Things are very quiet at Vale at the moment but we are all preparing ourselves for the spring, the start of the manic season for wildlife centres all over the country. Things will start to get busier in March, with May, June and July being the busiest months of the year. This 3-month period will be non-stop with dozens of casualties being admitted to the hospital every day so at the moment we are just enjoying the quiet days while we can.
Unfortunately it looks as if we are once again facing the prospect of a badger cull on our doorstep from June this year so we also need to be prepared for the possibility of injured badgers coming in from it.
We will also getting as involved as we can in the campaign against the cull.
By Caroline, 03-Feb-2013 14:08:00
2012 was an exceptionally busy year at Vale Wildlife Hospital with a record 4,321 casualties being treated in total, and telephone advice given to thousands of people, not only throughout the UK but also to vets and rehabilitators in several European countries.
More than one quarter of our total intake were hedgehogs, with 1,219 being admitted compared to 782 in 2011. One reason for this increase is due to the wet year that we had resulting in a huge increase in the number of slugs and snails around. Slugs and snails are the primary hosts for internal parasites such as lungworm and fluke and we have dealt with many more hedgehogs suffering from these nasties than usual.
Other species that we saw an increase in during 2012 were, with 2011 numbers in brackets: fox 114 (97), goldfinch 33 (29), tawny owl 59 (53), robin 79 (50), green woodpecker 16 (7), heron 17 (8), kestrel 24 (14) and jay 7 (4).
Unfortunately a larger number of species seem to be in decline where rehabilitation is concerned: buzzard 36 (55), fallow deer 18 (23), roe deer 35 (33), mistle thrush 4 (9), sparrowhawk 15 (29), badger 50 (63), herring gull 12 (19), grass snake 7 (14) and swallow 8 (25).
A total of 129 different species were dealt with (2,553 birds, 1,822 mammals and 51 'others', consisting of amphibians and reptiles) which does include a small number of exotic species usually brought in by the RSPCA.
The busiest months in a wildlife hospital are from April through to the end of September and this is because these months include the main breeding season for a majority of wildlife species and therefore a large number of admissions during these months are either baby or juvenile animals. The work can therefore be very intensive at this time due to the amount of one-to-one hand feeding that is required.
We are indebted to our team of staff and particularly to our volunteers as it would be impossible to continue our work without them. From March onwards we will be aiming to recruit more volunteers, not only for the hands-on cleaning, feeding etc within the Hospital, but also for vital fundraising or helping in our Charity Shop. There is much more information on how you can help us throughout this site.
If you can spare a few hours a week and would like to do something to help Britain’s wildlife, please get in touch or download a volunteer form from this website.
By Caroline, 21-Dec-2012 20:30:00
Firstly I would like to wish everyone, particularly those of you who have supported us financially and enabled us to get through another year, a very happy Christmas and a peaceful 2013.
The past few years have been a struggle for many charities and Vale is no exception and without the amazing support of the public and our members we would not have been able to treat a record number of wildlife casualties this year (over 4,300). There are many improvements and additions on our wish list such as replacements for some of our old, rundown aviaries, new, larger enclosures, an otter rehabilitation unit and improved teaching facilities so that we can expand the education that we offer to the public and to carers wanting to gain more hands-on experience. I hope that things improve for all charities in 2013 but obviously my heart lies with Vale and I want nothing more than for things to improve financially for us.
We have treated over 1,200 hedgehogs so far this year, a massive increase on last year’s total and over one quarter of our total intake of casualties. We are proud of our success rate with hedgehogs, which has been increasing year on year but unfortunately in the past couple of months we have had dozens of sudden, unexpected deaths. It is heartbreaking to try so hard to save these young hedgehogs, only to arrive each morning to find more have died in the night. It has been very disheartening and upsetting for all of us as we have felt so helpless. Things now seem to have turned a corner and, whatever was causing the problem, whether it was infection, a parasite, a virus or something else, appears to be disappearing so fingers crossed things will now improve again. We are still waiting for the results of extensive examinations and blood tests so we will hopefully find out what was going on – initial reports show that all the hedgehogs examined had changes to their livers but we are yet to be told exactly what these changes were.
I will post any news on this as we receive it and I will be posting full details of the numbers of each species dealt with during 2012 in the New Year.
Have a great Christmas!
By Caroline, 08-Nov-2012 19:01:00
Can't believe that it's almost 2 months since my last post on here. My intention was to post at least once a week but sadly, it's all gone pear-shaped :(
We are used to being extremely busy throughout the spring and summer months but in a normal year, by the end of September it starts to get very quiet in terms of the number of casualties coming in.
This year we are almost as busy now as we were in the height of the summer!
The reason? Hedgehogs!! At the time of writing this, we are caring for 221 hedgehogs, the most we have ever had in at this time of year. Every day between 6 - 15 more are arriving, Most of them are juveniles, found out during the day, which indicates a problem straight away. Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals and shouldn't be seen out during daylight hours - these youngsters are desperately searching out food in order to build up the vital fat reserves needed to survive the winter months. They need to weigh around 650gms to survive, but most of those coming in at the moment are 250-300gms, nowhere near big enough.
Hedgehogs are also suffering from various internal parasites such as lungworm, liver fluke and thorny-headed worms probably due to the recent wet, humid weather resulting in an explosion in slug and snail numbers, which are the primary hosts of some parasites.
Any hedgehog found out in the day needs to be taken to a rescue centre or carer for immediate treatment.
This ever-increasing number of prickly patients is putting huge pressure on our limited resources and we urgently need donations to help us out. Financial help is obviously very gratefully received, but tinned cat or dog food and newspapers are also desperately needed. Each hedgehog costs around £5 per week in food alone plus even more for the vital treatments they all need.
£5 x 221 every week = a huge financial problem for us :(
If you want to donate some food but you don't live locally, you can buy some from our Amazon Wish List and it will be delivered directly to us. The web address is http://t.co/TTzQehEU (or click on the link at the top of the page).
Alternatively there are several links throughout our website to enable you to donate financially.
Please help us to help the hedgehogs.
By Caroline, 12-Sep-2012 19:04:00
Yesterday's news that the Badger Trust lost their Court of Appeal challenge to government proposals to kill thousands of badgers in a bid to reduce bTB in cattle, came as a bitter blow to the many thousands of people who oppose the cull, myself included.
This murder is going to take place on Vale's doorstep (we are right on the edge of the cull zone) and I just feel extremely angry, frustrated and totally helpless as the cull now seems imminent.
I haven't been able to get as involved as I would have liked to in the campaign to get this atrocity stopped as Vale takes up all my time (too much sometimes!!) and I did actually believe that the government would eventually come to their senses and take notice of the massive scientific evidence which proves that a cull will not work, and will quite possibly make matters worse. Alas, this evidence is still being ignored in favour of placating farmers.
I have helped as much as I can and have been helping out a brilliant, local campaign 'Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting' in a small way, trying to spread the word and drum up support for the campaign, I put together their new website where, if you a landowner in the cull area, you can register that you will not allow the cull on your land. There are also many other ways in which you can help and details of important meetings (including one on 14 September in Coleford, Glos where Brian May will be one of the speakers).
Please visit the site at www.glosagainstbadgershooting.org and get involved in the fight to get the cull stopped.
By Caroline, 21-Aug-2012 14:02:00
I know, it's been ages since I posted on here, but it's been a very busy time and every time I think I've got a few spare minutes to write something, it all goes pear-shaped!
Hedgehogs and otters seem to be the order of the day at the moment.
Several hedgehogs are still arriving at our doors on a daily basis, mostly juveniles that simply aren't coping and are being found out in the day in a dehydrated and weak state. In these cases, immediate fluid therapy is vital (we are getting through Hartmanns by the gallon!!) if we are going to stand any chance of saving them.
A number of hedgehogs have come in recently after being kept for several days by the finder. Needless to say, as they haven't received these life-saving fluids, they have become even more weak and sick and we are much less likely to be able to save them.
Any sick or injured wild animal needs to be seen by people with experience immediately and, although it may be tempting to 'have a go' yourself, please remember that it is a life at stake and that caring for wildlife is a specialised area requiring the correct knowledge and facilities.
Those of you who follow us on Facebook and Twitter (and if you don't, why not??? Look us up today) will already know all about the otter cub saga. Although it is heartening to know that otter numbers are on the increase throughout most of the country, it is still an animal that is quite rare at the hospital. The odds of us having more than one cub in at a time are pretty remote - in fact, if we had put a bet on the chances of having two cubs in within a couple of weeks of each other, we would be pretty rich now (damn, missed a fundraising opportunity there!!)
I have already posted on here about the cub we had in at the end of July and our worries about her future. Well, we did find another centre with a cub of almost identical age and weight and arrangements were made for us to make the three and a half hour journey to her new home last Friday.
Unbelievably, three hours in, my mobile rang and it was Vale calling to tell me that one of our Care Assistants had just gone out to....yes, you guessed it.....an otter cub!!!
The latest cub, pictured below, is a little female, very thin and dehydrated and with extremely sharp teeth (as my hand can vouch for).
We have now got to arrange another long trip for this little girl, but it has made us realise that we have to build a facility here that is suitable for otters, both cubs and adults, a unit that can be multi-purpose to maximise its use so we can use it for water birds etc when it is not occupied by otters. We need nursery facilities and a smaller pool to accommodate cubs and a larger enclosure and pool for adults or growing cubs to provide a suitable environment for longer-term use (a cub isn't released back into the wild until it is well over 12 months old).
Fundraising has already begun. Paulene Struthers is organising an auction on Facebook on September 22 in aid of the appeal and is hoping for donations of good-quality items to add to this.
Copy and paste the following link to find Paulene's page:
Please get in touch if you can help.
By Caroline, 04-Aug-2012 20:36:00
Well, July is now over and things should start to get a bit less manic now but I'm not holding my breath if the past week is anything to go by. We dealt with 662 casualties in July, slightly down on last year (706) but our total for the year to the end of July was 2,785 which is about equal to the same period in 2011.
At the moment we are dealing with more hedgehogs than any other animal, with 122 in our care and at least half a dozen new ones in every day, mostly juveniles found out in the day.
We also took in a little female otter cub last week, only weighing 650gms, about six weeks old, found screaming at the side of the road in South Wales. She came to us on Monday 30 July and is doing very well, being bottle fed every four hours and I have to say, she is adorable.
Unfortunately she is posing one of the most difficult problems that wildlife rehabilitators have to face, the risk of imprinting, when an animal becomes so dependant on people that it can never be released. We deal with hundreds of baby animals every year and we are used to rearing them until they reach the time of release, but we rear them in such a way that they don't become imprinted, they have the natural, healthy fear of humans that is essential if they are to survive in the wild. This is because with most species, we always have more than one at the same time, so that they can be reared with others of their own species and therefore human contact can be kept to an absolute minimum.
If we do happen to have one youngster in on its own and we have no others, we contact centres in other parts of the country until we find somone with company for the animal and we then either take our orphan to them, or we take on one or more from the other centre so that imprinting is avoided.
This method works very well within the rehabilitation network.........usually. However, we have contacted all the centres that regularly deal with otter cubs, and none of them have one as young as this little one.
The longer she is with us, the more she is bonding with her carers and becoming reliant on humans, but what can we do? We only have two choices as things stand at the moment - 1) we continue to rear her which is likely to result in a tame otter which we will never be able to release, or 2) she is euthanased. Neither of these options is good and it is the most difficult, heartbreaking choice to have to make.
By Caroline, 12-Jul-2012 16:30:00
A bad day for badgers (12.7.2012) as the legal challenge against the badger cull in England has failed. David Bowles, the RSPCA’s Director of Communications, said: “We are bitterly disappointed that the UK Government is ploughing on with plans to kill badgers but the fight is not over yet."
Join the RSPCA's fight against the cull - copy and paste the following link and take action today!! :
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