NEWS RELEASE 24 April 2015
This is the perfect time of year to watch wildlife. Both in your garden and when out walking in the countryside or in the local park, there is so much to see and enjoy.
Local wildlife charity, the Wildlife Aid Foundation (WAF), is hoping that people will seize the opportunity to “get outdoors and commune with nature” over the coming weeks. Things to watch out for include trees and hedgerow in flower, birds nesting, meadows and woodlands blooming with wildflowers, and butterflies and dragonflies starting to emerge – and songbirds performing the dawn chorus!
“The summer migrant birds have arrived in Britain and their songs and calls are mingling with those of our resident British birds, producing the most wonderful natural music”, says WAF founder and chief executive Simon Cowell MBE. “The Surrey hills are alive with the sound – and sight – of nightingales, cuckoos, swifts and swallows – and in the gardens and parks of Surrey’s towns and villages you can see and hear blue tits, great tits, robins, blackbirds and song thrushes.”
However, adds Simon, while this time of year is fantastic for birdwatchers and countryside-lovers generally, there are some important things everyone needs to remember. “If you come across young fauns, badger cubs or fox cubs, please do not touch them unless they are injured or in mortal danger. Most likely their parents will be nearby, watching. But it is a good idea to check on the animal from time to time, and if it is alone for a considerable period or appears to be in distress then the best thing to do is to contact your local wildlife centre for advice.”
Something else you need to be aware of is the risk of disturbing nesting hedgehogs, Simon explains. “So you need to be careful when you are out in the garden and if you find hedgehogs please take extra care not to hurt or disturb them. Hedgehog nests are not always obvious. If you find an unusual pile of material in the corner of your garden shed, it might be a hedgehog nest. If you think it might be, then please keep clear.”
Hedgehogs are, of course, nocturnal creatures so if you see a hedgehog walking around your garden or the local park during the daytime there may be a problem. “If the hog is a healthy looking adult and is busy carrying grass and leaves to a dry space, then leave it alone – its nest may have been disturbed and it could be building another one – but if the hog is asleep in the sun, staggering or walking around in circles, then it will need to be brought into WAF or another wildlife centre as soon as possible.”
Sometimes, says Simon, “and only sometimes”, human intervention is essential and could save a hedgehog’s life. “In these circumstances, make sure you are wearing gloves, then pick up the hedgehog and put it in a cardboard box or pet carrier, ideally one lined with newspapers or an old towel for comfort. If you haven’t got anything to put it in, ask a neighbour for help, or wrap the animal up in an old towel and put it into a shed or garage to save it wandering off while you make arrangements for its transportation to the nearest wildlife hospital.”
If you would like to know more about British wildlife and to support the Wildlife Aid Foundation’s work, please visit the charity’s website, www.wildlifeaid.org.uk. For help with a wildlife incident please call WAF’s 24-hour emergency helpline on 09061 800 132.
Press contact: Simon Cowell on 01372 377332 or 07836 635269, or Andy Smith on 07737 271676.
The Wildlife Aid Foundation. Registered Charity No. 1138944. Company No. 07026228.