Yorkshire is a beautiful, rural county with a rich diversity of wildlife. But what happens to wildlife in Yorkshire when it is injured, orphaned or sick? Unlike the south of England, who have several hospitals dedicated solely to the care of wildlife, here in Yorkshire we have none. The nearest wildlife hospital, run by the RSPCA is in Cheshire
Wildlife rescues in this area are few and far between with just a handful of dedicated individuals caring for wild animals on a small scale. But with limited resources and shortage of space, there is only so much a home based wildlife rescue can do.
One such wildlife rescue, based in Barlby near Selby, was set up 18 months ago to help local wildlife. However, the rescue soon found themselves in demand helping creatures from every part of Yorkshire.
Rocky the little owl, was found strung up by his wing in Sherburn in Elmet. Badly shocked and injured, the outlook for the owl was bleak. Fortunately he was taken to Selby Wildlife whose dedicated and expert care saw him through to full fitness and final release.
Pandora a three legged hedgehog was found seriously ill in Chapel Allerton and she too was taken along to the Rescue Centre. Pandora has been nursed back to health and now weighs a whopping 1000g. However, with one of her rear legs missing, Pandora will be released next spring in a totally enclosed garden where she can be monitored.
Mr Bling, a handsome racing pigeon, was found grounded in the Woodhouse area of Leeds. No-one wanted to help him. Even the owner did not want him back. The bird was taken in by Selby Wildlife and was placed on a course of antibiotics. Mr Bling has since found a kind and caring home.
Annette Pyrah, originally from Kippax, near Leeds, set up the wildlife rescue after a young couple brought an orphaned mallard duckling to her door.
After the duckling, along came baby hedgehogs, songbirds, owls, swallows and swifts.
Annette said, “At first I kept the little orphans in my conservatory. However, once the word was out, vets began directing people to me and it snowballed. Eventually I had to make a decision. Either pursue my career as a legal secretary or care for wildlife on a full time basis. I chose wildlife and sold my car to have a log cabin built in the rear garden. Over the past 18 months, the wildlife cabin has been equipped with Brinsea intensive care units, cages, and medical equipment.
Calls come from all over Yorkshire and beyond. The people in Leeds are very supportive and even though I am based in Barlby, people travel from Leeds to bring me all kinds of creatures. In summer it was mainly swallows, swifts and house martins. At the moment it’s baby hedgehogs. We even have four baby ducklings born in late November, and totally at the wrong time of year”
Selby Wildlife Rehabilitation is working on a programme to reconnect children with nature and get them away from their games consoles and computers.
Annette explained “We have had a number of incidents of children kicking little hedgehogs, throwing apples at an injured bird and, of course, the dreadful incident of Rocky the little owl. We plan to engage with children by holding open days, visiting schools, giving talks and running craft workshops where children will be able to build things for wildlife”.
If anyone would like to support Selby Wildlife Rehabilitation, their contact details are:
Selby Wildlife Rehabilitation, Low Mill, York Road, Barlby. YO8 5JP or visit the website