Feature: Kildare Wildlife Rescue – Overview

In January of this year, a few wildlife rehabilitation specialists and rescue volunteers got together to discuss the possibility of starting a dedicated wildlife rescue organization together in County Kildare.

These volunteers met in hopes of providing assistance to injured, sick, and orphaned wildlife in the area.

Two months later, Kildare Wildlife Rescue (KWR) was formed, and at JulyA dedicated Wildlife Rescue Center has opened in Kildare.

Looking back on January, we can’t believe what has already been achieved in such a short period of time.

Orphan otter cub Oisín

What started as a humble vision to create a small community group to help wildlife locally has grown beyond our expectations.

Since our launch early this year, we have helped over 1,600 animals, more than half of which have been assisted by the rescue and nursery team before our center opens its doors in July.

As our dedicated email address for reports of wildlife victims (info@kwr.ie) was created in April, we soon realized that starting small wasn’t an option – reports started pouring in and we had to help.

Soon after, a dedicated team of experienced volunteers was set up to respond to reports and inquiries from the public, covering email and responding 7 days a week from 8 am to 11 pm.

In just 8 months, the team has responded to more than 3,200 reports of wildlife casualties.

Juvenil Fox confessed after being hit by a car

With volunteers and experienced wildlife advisors on hand, we can review videos of animals that have been reported to us, provide very specific advice to members of the public and get animals in need of care in a timely manner.

We are very grateful for the reports we are receiving; It shows that there is now a greater interest in helping wildlife and people are going to great lengths to find help for animals in need.

We would really like to thank everyone who contacted us this year and took our advice.

The people were incredible, transporting infected wildlife to us often over long distances, collecting young birds with their parents, treating foxes with scabies in their gardens under our supervision and so much more.

Many of the animals got help this year simply because the people who found them took the time to ask for help and make sure the animals got proper care.

A pair of swans from Port Balbriggan being rescued after oiling

As we entered what we call “orphan season”—the busiest times of the year for wildlife rehabilitators in the spring and summer—it became clear that without a rehab center dedicated to increasing our capacity, we wouldn’t be able to handle that number. from the reports we receive.

Wildlife needed our help not only in Kildare, admissions were starting to come in droves from Dublin, Meath, Laois and the surrounding counties, and we were looking everywhere to find a suitable place for our centre.

Just when the season got busier, we received the incredible news that we would be able to lease premises for our center next door to GreyAbbey Veterinary Hospital in Kildare City.

This space provided more than we could ever hope for: enough room for critical care units, multi-purpose stables, plenty of outdoor space for a waterfowl yard and a variety of outdoor enclosures.

Combined with the convenience of the location and close relationship with the amazing teams from GreyAbbey Veterinary Hospital and MiNight Vet Kildare, we jumped at the opportunity and opened the doors to our center on July 22nd; Soon the space was filled with chicks of gulls, injured pelicans and other birds, from the smallest chicks to injured birds of prey, as well as a variety of mammals including foxes, badgers and orphaned otter cubs.

More carpentry and other work is still needed at the center to get it where we need it before next spring, but the spaces already created provided wonderful, professional enclosures for patients of all kinds.

KWR Director Dan Donohue and Center Supervisor Petra Francas tag a herring gull to juveniles

We were expanding at an unprecedented rate and so was the need to recruit more volunteers for all roles.

As a volunteer organization with limited income, we rely on volunteers in all aspects of our work: transportation, rescue, animal care, carpentry, maintenance, administration, fundraising, media… All of these functions are performed by a team of dedicated volunteers.

Hiring more people has been vital to our survival and we have successfully completed several training courses and inductions, adding much needed new members to our team.

Coming from all walks of life and with a wide variety of skills and backgrounds, the team is now 100 volunteer strong and continues to grow.

We are very grateful to all of the volunteers and the time they give to help the animals, both directly at our center and in rescue operations, and indirectly by providing vital support to the team through administration, maintenance, and fundraising.

Many of our volunteers joined after seeing our work firsthand when they themselves reported a wild animal in distress and wanted to help more and we couldn’t be more grateful for their commitment to the cause.

KWR Rescue Volunteer and Consultant Pierce Stokes and Volunteer Coordinator Niamh Redmond give a wildlife rescue training session

The opening of our center has allowed us to be able to accommodate more animals, but the adoption team has remained a vital part of our business.

Of the more than 1,600 animals introduced into our care this year, more than half of these introduced animals have been taken in by the adoption team.

With licensed wildlife care homes spread across counties Kildare, Dublin and Meath, the adoption team can intervene with emergency after-hours admissions or care for patients with specialized requirements or intense feeding schedules.

From the nests of tiny garden birds to orphaned fox cubs, our foster volunteers have given the utmost dedication to the animals, feeding around the clock and providing professional care to all their patients from admission to release.

Hand-raised Goldcrest Birds nest in foster care

Kildare Wildlife Rescue is not a sanctuary – our aim is to rescue, rehabilitate and release animals reported to us.

2022 has been a great year for releases, with our release team evaluating suitable sites and creating great relationships with land owners.

A number of easy-to-release enclosures were built at various locations where the senior fox cubs and pine cones were able to learn how to be wild and from where they could be safely released back into the wild.

Care was taken to assess the habitat suitability and fitness of an animal prior to release, and we have been fortunate to witness many poignant versions of animals running or flying back to where they belong.

Our release site owners’ dedication to creating a safe environment for wildlife has been overwhelming and we couldn’t be more grateful for their assistance throughout the release process.

Plant pine nuts in a soft release container

An unexpected blow came in early autumn when there was an unprecedented media response to the bird flu cases recorded in Ireland.

With avian influenza and other pathogens arriving in Ireland with migratory birds every year, we have been surprised at how this year’s response to cases by various agencies has unfolded.

As we slowly approach the end of orphan season and expect the number of cases to decline, we are suddenly the only organization in our region willing to help injured birds, with veterinary clinics and other agencies stopping entry for all birds, regardless of type. and terms.

This has become the biggest welfare problem we have had so far, as many injured birds in Dublin, Kildare and the surrounding counties were left without help and all were referred to us as the only organization that could help.

We had to act quickly and do everything we could to ensure we could continue to help as many birds as possible.

Multiple meetings with relevant bodies, thorough bird handling training for all our volunteers, and strict biosecurity measures throughout the rehabilitation process, all of this ensures we can continue to help birds, but it means longer flights for the birds, which is a huge strain on our exhausted energy. Already. Volunteers and expenses are higher than we might expect.

After many sleepless nights, we are proud to say that our volunteers did their best despite the strict restrictions, went above and beyond to respond to avian infections, and, following all guidelines, never brought a bird infected with avian influenza into our care.

We hope this situation improves soon and we are committed to helping Irish Birds as much as we can during this difficult time.

Juvenile Janet

As the year draws to a close, we use this quieter period of time to plan for the year ahead.

We can expect to be a lot busier next year and will count on more volunteer recruitment, fundraising, and public support to continue our work.

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been part of our journey this year: to our volunteers, sponsors, supporters and members of the public who have contacted us about an animal in need, to the veterinary professionals who have helped us treat our patients, owners of issuing sites, and everyone who has given us a helping hand this year, we would like to wish you Good luck in the new year.

We can’t do what we do without you.

– KWR Team

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