Desperate plea for wildlife lovers to save under-threat Seal and Bird Rescue Trust at Ridlington, near North Walsham

The Seal and Bird Rescue Trust. Left, chairman of trustees Dan Goldsmith and volunteer Dan Eggleton with Nemesis the female Peregrine Falcon.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY The Seal and Bird Rescue Trust. Left, chairman of trustees Dan Goldsmith and volunteer Dan Eggleton with Nemesis the female Peregrine Falcon. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
7:35 AM

The chief of a long-established north Norfolk wildlife rescue centre has made a desperate plea to save it from closure.

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Busy times for centre

■ The Seal and Bird Rescue Trust deals with about 600 individual animals each year.

■ In December and January it helped rescue 103 grey seal pups and 32 common seal pups which had become separated from their mothers too early as a result of the tidal storm surge. The centre works closely with the RSPCA which took the pups to its facility at East Winch.

■Large numbers of tawny and barn owls are brought in, particularly after being hit on the road.

■ Only one badger has been brought in over the past 20 years, believed to be from a sett at Gimingham, near Mundesley.

■ The centre’s residents include three Harris hawks, a Saker falcon, a kestrel, a peregrine falcon, three European eagle owls, a red-tailed buzzard and a snowy owl.

Dan Goldsmith, new chairman of the Seal and Bird Rescue Trust, said if people with the time and expertise to run the centre’s wildlife hospital could not be found, the charity would have to be wound up at the end of the summer and the buildings sold.

The centre, in Ridlington, near North Walsham, has been running for more than 20 years but was plunged into crisis with the death in December of its chairman and lynchpin Bev Cossé, aged 73.

Mrs Cossé was the main driver behind the centre’s wildlife hospital, which cared for everything from injured seals to orphan songbird fledglings.

As yet no volunteers have come forward to take on the work, forcing trustees to close the hospital in mid-March.

Three nestling robins now in the care of the Seal and Bird Rescue Trust's Dan Goldsmith after a van driver found them in the back of his vehicle where Mr Goldsmith thinks their nest must have been. Picture: SUBMITTEDThree nestling robins now in the care of the Seal and Bird Rescue Trust's Dan Goldsmith after a van driver found them in the back of his vehicle where Mr Goldsmith thinks their nest must have been. Picture: SUBMITTED

Mr Goldsmith said they needed people with knowledge of rearing, medicating and administering first aid to wildlife.

The post was voluntary, although travel expenses would be paid. They would also consider people without experience if they had the right temperament, and were willing to be trained.

“It’s quite an ask but we’re desperate. It is a commitment but the rewards can be fantastic when something gets better,” said Mr Goldsmith who is unable to do the work himself as he lives in Gorleston and works full time. “We owe it to Bev to try and make a go of it.”

The centre is still caring for a number of birds of prey and reptiles which are permanent residents.

Mrs Cossé, who took birds of prey to local festivals to promote the centre, was also well-known for her work with young people, many from difficult backgrounds, who learned skills, respect and confidence through helping at the centre.

■ Contact the centre on 01692 650338 or email sbrt@talktalk.net

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