England has many volunteers who give up their time to help hares to hedgehogs, bats to otters, and seals to adders! Most shelters are overwhelmed due to traffic, litter and vandalism harming wildlife, and often volunteers and funds are lacking. So the best way to help firstly is preventive. Life a simple sustainable life, choose reusable over disposable and don’t drop litter. Use common sense like removing chemicals from gardens, and don’t encourage certain creatures if you live with or near natural predators (cats chase birds and bats, dogs chase hedgehogs etc). Also read how to make our roads safer for wildlife.
Read how to plant a wildlife-friendly garden. Also make your garden safe for pets (to avoid toxic plants etc). Ensure ponds have sloping sides for wildlife to easily exit. Netting (especially with large holes) traps wildlife/birds, so share a little food with wildlife or use fruit protection bags (after pollination) or wildlife-friendly fruit protection nets.
who to call (to help injured/orphaned wildlife)
Although most vets will treat/euthanise injured wildlife (at no cost to you), it’s good to keep hone numbers on-hand of local wildlife rescues and wildlife rehabilitators, as they have more expertise and volunteers who can advise (and visit in person for larger creatures like badgers and deer). Keep a large box (with punched holes for air) in your car boot, along with towels (no tassles to avoid tangling) and thick gloves. For urgent advice, call Tiggywinkles (the world’s busiest wildlife hospital).
RSPCA often take ages to arrive due to being busy. So for large creatures, call the police as a traffic hazard and often marksmen will arrive to humanely shoot animals in pain, if there’s a long wait for help. Councils can help by not planting flowers etc in railings, as this often attracts deer at dawn and dusk, who then get stuck.
Some creatures need specialist advice, so call:
- British Hedgehog Preservation Society
- Bat Conservation Society
- Raptor Rescue
- Amphibian & Reptile Conservation
how to raise funds for local wildlife shelters
Give direct or donate anonymously through Charities Aid Foundation (just tick the box). Most wildlife shelters welcome old newspapers, towels (no tassles/strings that could catch), medical supplies (some human equipment can be used for animals, check first) and safe vehicles (to transport animals). You could also donate practical skills (like building or accounting). Also donate unwanted fur coats (cut into squares to make ‘surrogate mums’ to calm orphaned baby wildlife).
Wildlife Aid Foundation was founded by Simon Cowell (same name, different person) who turned his back on a city career 40 years ago, to launch a rescue centre on his land. Now with terminal cancer, there’s an urgent appeal to raise funds for a purpose-built shelter to continue his work. It operates in Surrey, with an emergency helpline for everyone.
birthday books for your wildlife rescue!
As most wildlife shelters operate on shoestring budgets, gift them copies of Practical Wildlife Care (by the late founder of Tiggywinkles (who built enormous knowledge during his lifetime, despite no formal training). And Wildlife Search & Rescue (an American book, with useful info on helping injured/orphaned wildlife and safe capture methods).
Another gift your wildlife rescue would appreciate is an Armor Hand Protector. Invented by an American vet (who needed $20,000 of medical treatment after an angry patient bit her!), these vegan-friendly gloves offer low-stress handling, and bite protection. They are washable to reduce disease, but use a microplastic catcher (due to synthetic materials). Read How to Hold Animals, for less chance of stress and injury.
clothing brands that help native wildlife
There are many clothing brands that help native wildlife, whether they are companies that donate profits, or the wildlife rescue charities themselves who use Teemill to print organic cotton tees and hoodies, and send in zero-waste packaging to raise funds. So next time you need to replace a threadbare clothing item, consider buying from these companies, and this generates an automatic charity donation to help. If items have polyester or recycled plastic bottles, launder in a microplastic catcher.
Wildlife Aid Foundation offers organic cotton clothing of all kinds. Profits are used to help native animals and birds that are injured or suffer trauma through contact with man. Its 300 volunteers help over 20,000 wildlife each year, from scaling trees to rescue stranded bbay owls to cutting fox cubs from garden netting.
use graphic design skills to help wildlife rescues
If you are good at graphic design, it always helps to donate your skills. Whether that’s creating designs for wildlife rescues to sell their own items (like reusable tote bags to reduce plastic) or stationery or websites, it all helps. We do (alas) live in a visual creative society, and often wildlife rescuers are so busy doing ‘the important stuff’ that the graphic design, promotion and bookkeeping gets left on the backburner.
But it’s all important, as it can help to spread the word of the wonderful work being done, in order to generate more donations. For a few pounds, you can really up the game for your local wildlife rescue, and generate donation drives and campaigns. A quick look on Etsy throws up some good templates to download and edit.