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Happy New Year - A review of wildlife rescued 2022

Thank you so much to all of our volunteers and to the public for your support this year.


Since 2020 when we started we have rescued a total number of 321 animals. We would like to share with you our 2022 statistics and a few of our volunteers stories about their experience volunteering with us.

Below is our latest rescue stats, we have rescued a total of 79 animals this year, of that number over 50% have been successfully released back into the wild.

We have had an obvious increase in bat admissions as this year we were registered on the Bat Conservation Trust network due to the majority of our volunteers being registered bat carers on the BCT network or bat carers in training. We have had decrease in bird and small mammal numbers due to volunteers with those specific skills taking a break or moving on to other things.


Our overall numbers of patients are not as high as previous years but this is because we enforced our first three month winter break so all our volunteers could have a much needed rest at the end of last year into this year so numbers would be down due to this.


We really care about our volunteers health and wellbeing so despite not being able to help as many wildlife we prioritise quality over quantity.

In the wise words of RuPaul (slightly edited) 'If you cannot care for yourself how can you care for someone else'.

These stats do not include the hundreds of calls and messages we have taken, the amount of advice we have given out and the animals we have managed to reunite with their parents.

The most common species that we have rescued this year have been the common and soprano pipistrelle bat, herring gulls, feral pigeons, brown long-eared bats and myotis species.


Some of the more rarer species we have had in care this year have been the lesser horseshoe bat and a nightjar admission.


The most common reason for admission has been either from cat attacks or baby animals separated from their parents.


Cat attacks are one of the most common reasons for wild animals to be admitted into rescues so if you are able to keep your cat indoors at dusk and dawn, during the night or if you are able to pop a bell collar on them then this may help reduce the number of casualties that we get in every year.


We rescued 47 bats this year, with 22 released, 1 brown long-eared bat currently in care and 24 deceased. This is a 10% increase from last year and we believe it is to do with our connections with other bat carers in the area and with us being registered on the BCT network. Due to our fantastic flight cage we are aiming to be more bat specific and rescue other wildlife when we are able.


We rescued 28 birds and of those 25 were released back into the wild, with only 3 deceased which is a fantastic result. We have not have had as many small mammal admissions this year but we did release four very healthy hedgehogs back into the wild, three of which were three babies that everyone was very taken with.


The dormouse conservation project has also been a highlight of this year, with us finding one very chonky male sleeping in the one of 50 boxes we put up at Dean Farm Trust. We will be conducting further checks in the Spring.


We hope to save many more animals in 2023 with the continued support of the public and our amazing volunteers.

 

Here are a few rescue stories written by our volunteers about some of their most memorable rescues and experiences with SWR in 2022:


My Batty Experience - by Freja McCall-Stevenson


My name is Freja and I started as a bat carer with Severn Wildlife Rescue in the spring this year with Ashley as my trainer.

I absolutely love bats and I did my Masters dissertation on the spatiotemporal activity and habitat preferences of different UK bat species.

I have helped rehabilitate some beautiful bats this year with a variety of injuries, with the pictures below:

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1) Margery the Common Pipistrelle.

2) Mona the Whiskered.

3) Mona’s open wing.

4) Maggie the Soprano Pipistrelle.

5) Gizmo the Brown Long-eared.

6) Baby pip (Pipistrelle bat only around 2 weeks old).

7)Alfie, Bart and Sheba the juvenile Soprano Pipistrelles.

8) Little Bart eating a mealworm.

9) Gizmo chomping a mealworm

10) Releasing Bruce the Common Pipistrelle

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All bats were successfully rehabilitated and released with the help of the amazing bat carers at SWR, which makes me very very happy. I hope to be registered as a bat carer in Cardiff in the new year.


 

My Volunteer Experience - by Abigail Pincombe


I joined Severn Wildlife Rescue in the Summer 2019 as a Wildlife Ambulance Driver where I have been able to pick up and transport bats, a vole and a pigeon.


This year I have also helped to rehabilitate some animals. I started in Spring by helping out with Graham the Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus). I helped for 3 months, feeding him, cleaning out his cage, taking him to the vets and giving him baths.


SWR were able to provide him a soft release through a local school allowing him to have a safe space to return to the wild as well as be an outreach and educational experience for the children.


During the time I have helped with Graham I occasionally helped clean out and feed the wood pigeons (Columba palumbus) in the aviary when other people were unavailable, although I didn't do this much it was lovely to see the pigeons getting better over time and I was there to watch their release.

In May we had a Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) come in that was unable to support its own weight. We had the honour of preparing mice and helping to feed it for 2 weeks. We also tried a little harness to encourage standing, but within 30 mins it was out of the harness. In 2 weeks it was standing and becoming a bit too quick at food time for our liking. That's when we knew it was time to release the owl. Ashley can still hear him sometimes at night.


In May we also had a quick one night visit from a female otter cub (Lutra lutra) that was unfortunately abandoned by its parents. I was lucky enough to see her in person and had the joy of watching her sniff out her fish.



More recently I have had basic training for otter surveying where I'll be given a stretch of a river not currently surveyed in a professional capacity. Otters are Near Threatened on the IUCN red list and have been in decline due to the use of organochlorine pesticides we use in our fields, these pesticides cannot be broken down and so make there way up the food chain becoming more concentrated in each predator, as the otters are the apex predator they are affected the most impacting their populations.


In 1979 a ban was brought in against these pesticides and since we have seen otters return back to once abandoned waterways. They are also a Keystone species meaning they affect the environment around them more than other species so a decline in their population can have an impact on their environment and other species. I hope that by carrying out surveys I will help to map out where the otters are in South Wales and also what their populations look like, at the moment this data is very limited. I look forward to start the surveying and be able to provide data for this important keystone species.


I have loved volunteering with SWR and I look forward in learning more about our wildlife species in the New Year.

 
We hope you have enjoyed these little stories from our amazing volunteers and we look forward to saving more wildlife in 2023!

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