Heatwave Threatens Surrey’s Wildlife

NEWS RELEASE   30 June 2015

The current heatwave is posing major problems for Surrey’s wildlife, especially this year’s young. That is the warning from a local environmental charity.

The Wildlife Aid Foundation (WAF) is already experiencing an upsurge in patients, particularly very young animals, at its veterinary hospital in Leatherhead, due to dehydration and malnutrition resulting from the hot, dry weather conditions.

WAF chief executive Simon Cowell MBE says that the heatwave is having “a devastating effect on wildlife here in Surrey. Groundwater levels here are dangerously low, causing great suffering among wild animals.”

Staff and volunteers at the WAF hospital in Randalls Road are being inundated with malnourished and dehydrated young animals who cannot cope with the sweltering heat and lack of water.

“The reason why the hot dry weather is such a catastrophe for wildlife is that very young animals don’t know how to find water when it’s scarce”, Simon explains. “They have not yet learned how to forage for food and water. The heat and the lack of groundwater can be a fatal combination for young animals.”

Simon wants people to help by putting out water for wildlife in their gardens. “It would assist greatly if as many people as possible could put out shallow dishes of water in their gardens. This would be particularly useful for vulnerable small animals, such as hedgehogs, whose numbers are already declining and who will be hit hard by this heatwave.”

People can also help by keeping an eye open for suffering wildlife. “Please keep a lookout for orphaned or injured wildlife, and report any incidents to us here at WAF. If you see an obviously injured or weakened animal with flies buzzing round, and with yellow eggs on it, those eggs will be maggots in a matter of hours, so you need to notify WAF right away.”

The Wildlife Aid Foundation is one of the largest charities of its kind in the UK and its Leatherhead hospital handles some 20,000 wildlife emergencies every year. Animal-lovers can become members of the charity and can volunteer to help at its busy hospital and rehabilitation centre.

For details of the charity’s work, caring for sick, injured and orphaned wildlife, have a look at their website: www.wildlifeaid.org.uk.

-Ends

For further information or interviews, please contact Simon Cowell, tel: 07836 635269, email simon@wildlifeaid.org.uk, or Andy Smith, tel: 07737 271676.