30 days wild: learning new skills to care for wildlife

Beginners Course in Wildlife Rehabilitation at Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary

My name is Charlotte and I live in Leicestershire. I love being in nature and June is my favourite month! It gives me an excuse to do something wild every day.

I booked this course a few months ago; it luckily coincided with 30 days wild! I was very excited to do the course as I follow the Sanctuary on Facebook and see the animals they look after, including a rather gorgeous tame fox called Arya. I was also looking forward to meeting all the rest of the patients.The course was in Whitby, a beautiful part of North Yorkshire. It was a sunny day, which was great as most of the course was outside.

I turned up to a lovely farm/camp site with adorable holiday cottages and camping pods. I was greeted by a large very loud cockerel. There were various other farm birds milling around our feet all day. The Wildlife Sanctuary was larger than I expected, I met the lady who runs the Sanctuary, Alex, who was very friendly and has a lot of knowledge.

There were 4 of us on the course, all eager to learn. We started with a tour of the facilities and meeting some of the patients including: ducks, owls, Arya the fox, pigeons, hedgehogs and gulls. Then we fed some of the hungry patients and cleaned out the cages, handling Woodpigeons, rooks, a raven, crows, a very sad looking blackbird with one eye and some very large hedgehogs. Along the way Alex was explaining what was wrong with the animals and how they feed and care for them.

Then after lunch we learnt about record keeping and fed some of the very small baby animals: hoglets, robin, herring gull, greylag goose and tiny wood mice. We learnt about how much food to give the baby animals and how often. These babies were kept in incubators until they were old enough to feed on their own and be released.

During the day, the phone was busy with people wanting advice as they had found an injured animal or they have an animal to bring to the Sanctuary. They had delivered 3 Hoglets and a very injured Sparrow.

The Sanctuary get a large number of rescue Hedgehogs, they are usually injured or unwell. Alex has to rehabilitate the Hedgehogs in order to release them again. To do this, their droppings are examined under a microscope to see what illness they have, this then is treated accordingly. We used the microscopes ourselves to see if we could find what infection the hedgehog has, this was difficult but interesting.

Overall it was a successful day, I learnt a lot and it has made me want to do more to help wildlife. I have since applied to volunteer at my local animal hospital.