Wildlife hospital trials new extended hours

General manager Robert Knight, right, with animal care managers Darren Ashcroft and Emma Pink SUS-160107-144441003
General manager Robert Knight, right, with animal care managers Darren Ashcroft and Emma Pink SUS-160107-144441003

Brent Lodge Bird and Wildlife Trust is running a pilot trial of extended care.

The charity’s wildlife hospital in Sidlesham is at its busiest between April and August, with the hospital running at full capacity.

The trust has decided to run a pilot trial of extended opening hours, changing from 9am to 5pm to 8.30am to 8.30pm, seven days a week, throughout this busy period.

Asha Park, administrative assistant, said: “This is the time of year we start to receive our babies, such as chicks, fox cubs, badger cubs, hoglets and other orphaned or injured wildlife critters.

“We can see more than 20 wildlife patients a day come through the hospital doors and several phone calls from people seeking important advice.

“The hospital staff are working flat out during this time, as young wildlife patients require specialised treatment with more one-to-one care. Without this support, the babies can deteriorate very quickly, which unfortunately can be fatal.”

Staff will be operating shifts to cover the extended hours until the end of August, with additional support from new part-time animal care assistants and valuable volunteers, who help with all the demanding morning and evening feeds for the babies.

Asha added: “Although this decision will have small cost implications on the charity, being one of only a very few wildlife hospitals in West Sussex, we feel it is a necessary one.

“It is hoped that it will enable the staff to be able to keep up with the demands and deliver experienced wildlife care much more efficiently, meaning advanced treatment for patients.”

Sick, injured or orphaned patients can be taken to the wildlife hospital during opening hours.

Asha said: “It is important that if you do ever see an animal in trouble to properly assess the situation before intervention. Too many patients are brought to us as a result of unnecessary handling, which can inflict stress.

“We urge that you give us a call on 01243 641672 or call your local vet to seek appropriate advice. We are always more than happy to do so. It could mean the patient can stay in the wild where it belongs by just seeking basic advice.”

See some of the work Brent Lodge does at the Spring Open Weekend on Saturday, May 27, and Sunday, May 28. Visit www.brentlodge.org for more information.