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Wildlife rescue centre faces Covid pressure as demand rises

PUBLISHED: 08:15 06 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:52 13 October 2020

David Carr, co manager at Wild Touch in Ridlington, inside the aviary. Picture: Stuart Anderson

David Carr, co manager at Wild Touch in Ridlington, inside the aviary. Picture: Stuart Anderson

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All creatures great and small have been helped by a north Norfolk wildlife rescue centre, which is finding itself under pressure from different quarters due to Covid-19.

A turkey in front of a bird roost at Wild Touch in Ridlington. Picture: Stuart AndersonA turkey in front of a bird roost at Wild Touch in Ridlington. Picture: Stuart Anderson

Wild Touch wildlife encounters and rescue, based at Ridlington near Happisburgh, is getting busier every year, rescuing scores of birds, reptiles, mammals and others species in need, before releasing them back into the wild or, when that is not possible, finding them a permanent home.

But David Carr, co-manager, said although admissions were rising each year, the pandemic meant there were fewer events such as village fetes they usually depend on for fundraising, and the centre was also in need of more volunteers. Mr Carr, 34, said: “We have a lot of resident animals and we do school visits and educational talks, which aren’t going ahead this year.

“So now we rely a lot on donations that come in when people bring the animals, in, but that has to do for the whole year - including in winter, when we have fewer animals come in, but we’ve still got quite a lot to feed and medicate.”

MORE: Injured swan rescued from barbed hooks in Norfolk Broads

Among the animals being cared for at the centre are a 13-foot Burmese python, a savannah monitor lizard and a heron that had a wing severed at a young age.

A swan being released back into the wild at Wroxham Broad. The bird was cared for at Wild Touch, after it was found stuck in a mooring basin at the broad with two hooks stuck in it. Pictured are Paul Rice and George Elliot. Image: Laura BassamA swan being released back into the wild at Wroxham Broad. The bird was cared for at Wild Touch, after it was found stuck in a mooring basin at the broad with two hooks stuck in it. Pictured are Paul Rice and George Elliot. Image: Laura Bassam

Some of the roughly 150 resident animals at the centre, including a crow, are classed as ‘imprints’, meaning they became so used to being around humans at a young age that they regard humans as their own species.

Mr Carr said: “The majority of animals we rescue tend to be reptiles but we get all sorts of others, for example parrots, harvest mice and captive-bred foxes.”

Mr Carr said people sometimes kept pets such as exotic snakes, but later found they could not take care of them properly, so gave them to the centre. They were also called to rescue some animals which had escaped and others which were injured.

One of these was a swan which became entangled in barbed hooks at Wroxham in September, which was able to be released back into the wild after a couple of days’ care.

David Carr, co-manager at Wild Touch in Ridlington, with a savannah monitor. Picture: Stuart AndersonDavid Carr, co-manager at Wild Touch in Ridlington, with a savannah monitor. Picture: Stuart Anderson

Anyone interested in volunteering at Wild Touch or finding out more about the centre, which covers all of Norfolk, can visit wildtouch7.wixsite.com/wildtouch or call 07765345441.

Among the animals being cared for at Wild Touch in Ridlington are a sulcata tortoise, a savannah monitor lizard and a Burmese python. Picture: Stuart AndersonAmong the animals being cared for at Wild Touch in Ridlington are a sulcata tortoise, a savannah monitor lizard and a Burmese python. Picture: Stuart Anderson

David Carr, co-manager at Wild Touch in Ridlington, in front of the enclosure containing a Burmese python. Picture: Stuart AndersonDavid Carr, co-manager at Wild Touch in Ridlington, in front of the enclosure containing a Burmese python. Picture: Stuart Anderson

A heron who lives at Wild Touch in Ridlington, north Norfol. Picture: Stuart AndersonA heron who lives at Wild Touch in Ridlington, north Norfol. Picture: Stuart Anderson


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