This year we have taken in quite a high number of fox cubs. We have 29 in our care at the moment, which have come in for various reasons such as being hit by a car, being orphaned when the vixen has disappeared, or being found injured or alone for unknown reasons. We have also taken several in from other centres that don’t have the facilities or experience to rear fox cubs in such a way that imprinting is avoided. Imprinting an animal means that it becomes dependent on humans, lacks the natural fear of humans that is vital for a wild animal’s survival and is therefore never going to be releasable.

All our cubs are now on their final stage of rehabilitation before they are released back into the wild in the late summer / early autumn.

We are now in the middle of our busiest time of year with 20-30 casualties being brought in to the hospital every day. Most of our 4 – 4,500 total annual intake comes in to us between the beginning of May and the end of July, coinciding with the breeding season for the majority of wildlife. As well as large numbers coming in every day, we are also releasing mammals and birds that have been reared or rehabilitated on an almost daily basis. Recently we have released sixteen ducklings in one go, all of which came in as day-old balls of fluff but just a few weeks later they are fully feathered and ready to go. We have also been releasing young blackbirds, thrushes, starlings, blue tits, robins, sparrows, great tits, dunnocks and various finches, all reared from featherless nestlings at Vale – this really is the best and most satisfying part of our work.

As usual at this time of year, our costs increase massively and funds are desperately needed to enable us to continue our work. It costs over £25,000 per month to run the hospital and we rely on donations to help us to keep going. Donations can be made via our website or can be sent to Vale Wildlife Hospital, Station Road, Beckford, Tewkesbury, GL20 7AN.