Updated: Feb 7
Thank you so much for all your support during another fantastic year.
We would like to share with you the numbers of rescues we have had in and some of our most successful rescue stories and experiences from our volunteers.
Below is our latest rescue stats, we have rescued a total of 118 animals this year, of that number over 50% have been successfully released back into the wild.
The most common species that we have rescued this year have been the common pipistrelle bat, herring gulls, wood pigeons, hedgehogs, rabbits and the common rat.
The most common reason for their 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 54 birds and of those 42 were released back into the wild, with only 12 deceased which is a fantastic result. We had more success this year with our hedgehog and rabbit admissions compared to 2020 and we had a variety of bats admitted from brown long eared bats to leislers bats.
We admitted less animals when compared to last year, this is due to making sure members of our team took time out when they needed it. Saying no can be difficult but it is so important. We want to save as many as possible, but its not important who does the saving, which is why we often refer animals to other rescues. At the end of the day we have to keep our egos out of wildlife rescue and have the animal's best interests at the forefront of our minds.
Now we have a big team of volunteers that we are training up ready for the busy season, we are looking forward to seeing how many more animals we can help in 2022.
Here are a few rescue stories written by our volunteers about some of their most memorable rescues and experiences with SWR in 2021:
My Favourite Rescue by Carys
My favourite rescue of 2021 was the three young leisler's bats that were found grounded in Bristol.
'They were so bold and bossy, and probably the noisiest bats I've cared for!'
After weeks of care we released them in a safe green space close to their maternity roost - which happened to be a graveyard.
It was wonderful to see them all take off together back into the night.
My Favourite Rescue by Kate
My favourite moment of this year was releasing Neville the Brown long eared bat. It is amazing knowing that after all the care that he had been given since his cat attack that he was finally back in the wild where he belongs. It is truly an experience I will never forget.
Carys and Kate have been a great help to SWR, helping us out with the bat flight cage and caring for bats when Ashley and Nai needed assistance. We look forward to working with them both in the future!
The Highlight of the Year by Abby
The highlight of my year of rescue was definitely learning to syringe feed a baby bunny. I felt incredibly lucky to get this close to such beautiful wildlife and even better to be helping them.
I do not have the space at home to rehab myself but I am very grateful that SWR trained me up in all aspects of rescue so could help other rehabbers and have this unique experience.
We are so appreciative of all the help that Abby has given us over the course of this year. It has been a delight to see how passionate and dedicated she is to helping our wildlife.
The Highlight of the Year by Katherine
The two hedgehogs and a bat that I helped care for were the highlight of my year.
Hector hedgehog (who turned out to be a girl!) came to us after being attacked by a dog.
With the help of the vets we cleaned her wounds and nursed her back to health and she was released in my garden.
She settled in the hedgehog house for a few days, but has since left to explore and find her own territory.
The second hedgehog, Herbie, was released in the autumn. We have been watching him on camera and it has been lovely to see him gathering leaves, feathers and moss to weave into his nest. He has stuck around and we think he is now hibernating over the winter.
I have been also helping out at the bat flight cage throughout the year, it has been wonderful to know the bats have been rehabilitated and released. Another highlight was releasing a bat back to the wild by hand to where it was found, it is a moment I will never forget!
Welcoming Wildlife by Caryn
Although this year hasn't been a busy wildlife rescuing year for me, I have welcomed way more wildlife to my garden.
I've installed a hog house which I'm hoping will get some good use, knocked holes in the neighbours garden walls for the hogs to roam and tried to feed every bird in Cardiff!
Recently, I've had a new visitor, a grey squirrel who eats nuts on the terrace while I waste hours just watching.
My current rescue is a cute hedgehog called Piera, she came in after an attack. She has a broken cheekbone and a missing eye, but she is still the busiest hog you will ever know.
Although not at the moment as she is enjoying a much needed sleep while it's cold.
We are hoping to find the perfect place to release her in the spring!
Squeak the Baby Bat by Isabella
My favourite rescue was a little common pipistrelle named squeak, a work colleague found her outside on her wall and called me to take her in.
Squeak was underweight and had a wing tear that exposed a bone on her fifth finger, with careful treatment the exposed bone dropped off and the wing tear healed. She was sent off to do flight training with experienced bat carers but unfortunately she passed away soon after. Why she passed away, we are unsure, there could have been internal injuries that we could not foreseen or the injury was just too much for her.
UK bats are tiny creatures and sometimes no matter how hard we try there is nothing more we can do, other than hope they will pull through.
She was my favourite rescue as she was a long term patient, and you really bond with these animals especially when they are ICU and need medication and checks every day. She had the biggest personality and her death was hard but is something we need to learn to deal with when we are involved in wildlife rescues.
Our Second Year with our Bat Flight Cage by Ashley
It has been an amazing year using our bat flight cage that we built in 2020, located at the beautiful Dean Farm Trust.
All the bat carers that help with the cage have updated rabies vaccinations and be adequately trained to handle bats. The cage is approximately 9m x 5m, consists of a timber frame, external steel ¼ mesh and internally is lined with plastic butterfly netting to prevent bats from escaping. There are double doors with an airlock system for extra security and a timber release hatch (where the bats are released from).
The bats are housed in the cage for a few months before release and food and water is topped up each day with the bat trainees checking for any grounded bats every day.
In addition, a health check of all the bats is conducted by a licensed bat carer once per week. The heath check involves checking for any injuries caused from grounding, any new tears and holes in the wing, swollen limbs, and general wing health. The bats are weighed once a week to check that they are eating and to ensure that they are fit and healthy to return to the wild.
We are still fine tuning the flight cage process but without the dedication of our bat carer trainees we would not have been able to release as many bats back into the wild as we have this year.
We must express our gratitude to Dean Farm for being so patient with us, whilst we worked out how to coordinate our bat flight cage and allowing us to release rabbits on to their land!
Thanks so much to everyone's hard work, it has been amazing to be able to release not only bats but rabbits in a stunning habitat.
A Thank you from our Ambulance Drivers Raul and Silvia
After 15 years of experience being an Animal Rescue Activist in 3 different countries, to be part of the SWR team is a priceless experience... Can't thank them enough for being there for the animals
(* Sometimes I feel like a Basketball player getting to play for NBA teams!!)
Happy new year everyone!! - Raul and Silvia