Wildlife rescue centre plans for Sleaford area

Weetabix the blind hedgehog, rescued by Lucy Steele. EMN-180625-170959001
Weetabix the blind hedgehog, rescued by Lucy Steele. EMN-180625-170959001

A trainee veterinary nurse is seeking support to set up a wildlife rehabilitation centre in the Sleaford area with a view to educating the public and professionals about wildlife and exotic species

Lucy Steele, 25, from Tattershall, currently operates a small scale wildlife rescue centre from her back garden but is looking to expand to serve the county.

Lucy Steele, looking to expand her home-based wildlife rescue centre as an educational project. EMN-180625-171010001

Lucy Steele, looking to expand her home-based wildlife rescue centre as an educational project. EMN-180625-171010001

The assistant veterinary nurse from Quarrington Veterinary Practice says: “I have taken in fledglings and hedgehogs for as long as I can remember but started to take it more seriously when I joined the veterinary industry. I have successfully helped to treat, rehabilitate and release a variety of animals ranging from hedgehogs to owls.

“For many years, Weirfield Wildlife Centre in Lincoln was the ‘go to’ place for wildlife rehabilitation in Lincolnshire. Unfortunately in 2017 this closed down and veterinary practices started to see an increasing amount of wildlife. The closest rehabilitation centre is RSPCA East Winch Centre near King’s Lynn. This, realistically, is too far for the public to travel.

“I have always taken wildlife home for care, but now practices all over the county are contacting me for help.”

The project is called Weetabix Wildlife Rescue, named after a blind, orphaned hedgehog that was brought to Lucy by a little girl who had been told to feed it Weetabix.

A kestrel that came to Lucy Steele's wildlife rescue centre from Bransby Home for Horses near Lincoln, unable to fly. EMN-180627-170539001

A kestrel that came to Lucy Steele's wildlife rescue centre from Bransby Home for Horses near Lincoln, unable to fly. EMN-180627-170539001

Lucy said she is getting two or three calls a day, but she cannot set up as a charity to seek funding without initial backing from well-meaning businesses and donors.

She said: “The long term plan is to set up a fully functional wildlife rehabilitation centre in the Sleaford area. This is an excellent central point.

She is in talks to try and find land for a suitable centre, which would include an isolation unit, intensive care unit, pre-release aviaries and specialist areas for birds of prey, large mammals, small mammals and garden birds. It will also include a small education centre where group visits and community talks can be held, as well as providing hands-on experience for local veterinary staff in handling with exotic animals. The centre would also recruit volunteers too.

Lucy is trained to rehabilitate birds of prey and is currently undergoing further training courses for other wildlife rescues.

This little owl was hit by a car, handed to Lucy by another vet practice and has since been successfully released. EMN-180627-170550001

This little owl was hit by a car, handed to Lucy by another vet practice and has since been successfully released. EMN-180627-170550001

She said: “If we can get children interested in wildlife when they are young they will stay with it.”

Businesses could sponsor the education room, supply or fund materials and specialist equipment. For details email: lucy@weetabixwildlife.co.uk or call 07572860191 or 01529 307878.