Oak & Furrows, Blakehill Nature Reserve, Malmesbury Rd, Leigh, Cricklade, Wiltshire, SN6 6RA. Telephone: 01793 751412

The hidden gem on your doorstep?

Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre, Blakehill Nature Reserve, Cricklade

I’m guessing many of you have done it. Found an ailing fledgling, injured bird, poorly hedgehog, or otherwise hapless and/or damaged member of Mother Nature’s Wildlife Community. You wanted to help. But didn’t know what to do… Well, that’s where the wonderful Oak and Furrows Wildlife Centre come in! THEY are the experts where wildlife rescue is concerned.

But first I must introduce myself. I’m Bertie and I’m a badger… But I digress. And so to continue…

The Centre was originally founded by Serena Stevens in 1994 (way, way beyond my time) and it became a registered charity in 2006. Originally at Somerford Keynes, but recently relocated to the Blakehill Nature Reserve on the road between Minety and Cricklade. Every year, the Centre takes in over 3,000 casualties, as well as receiving thousands of telephone calls from people seeking help and advice. The staff and volunteers are dedicated to treating sick, orphaned and injured creatures. Those animals and birds (plus anyone else feathered, furry or otherwise not mentioned above) who have been rescued are then, following expert and dare I say, loving care, released back into their natural environment. Working with other agencies, vets, the RSPCA and the Police, Oak and Furrows continues to rescue and assist these helpless wildlife casualties. They are also available to visit schools and other groups (err the Centre Staff, not the incumbents) to educate everyone in the needs of wildlife, how to care for the immediate needs of injured creatures and how to recognise if the creature require human intervention.

A rather special visitor

We all know about the flooding which has been so terrible, but I don’t suppose you really think that it affects wildlife. But it does and here’s where my story starts…

That special visitor was an otter pup, which had been brought in roughly about 6 weeks old. She’d been washed out of her home as a result of the flooding, and when she was spotted, was with one of her siblings. But by the time her rescuer returned with a box, the other pup couldn’t be found and is presumed washed away. She was taken to the Centre and was so distressed that she cried all night. Her carer, who was trying to feed and comfort her, didn’t get any sleep. Now Otters are quite complex creatures, with quite specific needs, and so it was decided that the little foundling be transferred to an Otter Centre for her rehabilitation because the process is lengthy, and at present, the Centre does not have the facilities. (However, this is something which Oak and Furrows are going to be fund raising for so watch this space!). But I do like my story to have a happy ending, and can report that our little otter friend, now called Immy, has settled down and is doing well! So if you are moved to perhaps make a small donation, then make sure that you mark it for the ‘Immy the Otter’ enclosure.

Next month I will tell you about a caring, lovely lady and NINE hedgehogs.

And now another splendid tale involving a caring, lovely lady and NINE hedgehogs!!!! The Lady in question contacted the Centre, concerned that the hedgehogs she had been looking after had developed a skin condition. She had been fastidious and dedicated in her work, but the Centre offered to take them simply because she was funding them out of her own pocket…. When the lucky hedge pigs were inspected, they were found to be in very clean conditions, rude health and clearly dining like Kings (and Queens….)!!!! This wonderful Lady had been tempting them with all their favourite treats and nibbles, and so instead of weighing between 600 and 900 grams (normal for a hedgie), one of these lovelies tipped the scales at a curvy and cuddly (well as far as you can “cuddle” a hedgehog…..) 1876 grams…. Cue a “bit of a diet” and they will soon be ready to be released once the weather settles down….. So I must say here in print, a big THANK YOU to the Lady, and bless you for looking out for my wildlife friends! Oh, and if our lovely Lady is reading this, and is a bit short of things to do now that her former charges have gone, then perhaps she has room for a certain literary badger, greying hair, fondness for slugs, slim build, non smoker, GSOH, seeking likeminded human for sharing walks, country pubs and the evenings by the fire……. I’ll keep you all posted!!!!

Nearly at a close now but you know it wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t asking for something. So, on top of the usual ongoing requests for newspapers, tinned pet food, old towels, tea towels, can I now add FENCING PANELS. The Centre is getting itself together for the spring and summer, and these would be used as additional shelter for the aviaries and enclosure. So if there’s anyone out there (builders, I’m talking to you too), renewing fences (after the high winds) and have the old panels going begging, then give the Centre a shout. In fact if there’s anything you think we could use (I’m still talking to you builder chaps, then before you skip it, then please let us know.

Oh, and if you would like to come on down and lend a hand, then ‘The Crew’ would be delighted to see you! Don’t forget if you have any Wildlife emergency, contact the Centre on 01793 751412. If you have any questions our email is info@oandf.co.uk or you can check us out on the website www.oandf.co.uk

See you next month unless I’ve been “re-homed” to a non-smoker, GSOH, with own home and car…

Love Bertie the Badger