Published: January 31, 2012
Secret World launches £4.4m campaign to build animal hospital

A new multi-million pound wildlife hospital and education centre is set to be built near Burnham-On-Sea to help animals and provide practical experience for trainee vets from across the UK.

On Tuesday, Secret World Wildlife Rescue Centre launched a 'Call of the Wild Appeal' to raise £4.4 million to help fund the project and keep the centre running over the next two years.

Author Sir Terry Pratchett and UK TV celebrities Mike Dilger, Simon King, Steve Backshall, Chris Packam and Michaela Strachan are all backing the project.

Secret World founder Pauline Kidner said: "We will receive around 5,000 injured or orphaned animals and birds over the coming year, yet when wildlife needs people's support most, the nation is increasingly losing touch with nature."

"While vets receive virtually no wildlife training, children now spend half the time outdoors that they did 40 years ago and many cannot even identify an oak tree.
The launching of our new hospital and education centre project is a positive move to redress the balance and we are appealing for everyone in the region to give us their support so that we can open on schedule in 2013."

Sir Terry Pratchett, launching the appeal, added: "Orphaned by traffic, hurt by our pollution and rubbish and forced out of their natural habitats by our developments, Britain's wildlife is in serious decline so much so that even the sparrow and the much loved hedgehog are endangered.
Fifty years ago there were 30 million hedgehogs in Britain but now there is only an estimated 1.1 million so if we carry on at this rate they could be extinct in ten years. Yet when humans decide to act they succeed in reversing the trend. I urge everyone to play their part. "

When completed, the new teaching hospital will include an operating theatre, examination, preparation and x-ray rooms with a first floor laboratory, lecture theatre and library.

It will give Secret World the facilities to provide all veterinary care on one site, to bring faster relief to suffering wildlife. An IT hook-up will allow up to 120 resident students a year to watch procedures being performed by the hospital's in-house veterinary surgeon in the operating theatre below.

Secret World's new Wildlife Education Centre, to include a lecture theatre and meeting room, will be created by extending and renovating a beautiful seventeenth century Goat House barn. Here, schools will be encouraged to take part in inspiring educational programmes giving youngsters a unique opportunity to see British wildlife and to learn how to help save it.

Pauline Kidner and her team believe that wildlife admissions to Secret World will double over the next five years so to meet rising demand, the project will also include 28 indoor recovery areas, 16 rehabilitation enclosures, six new water areas for otters, swans, gulls and other water birds and 24 small and large bird aviaries.

Today, the charity employs a 30 strong care staff team supported by 365 volunteer response drivers who operate a 24 hour wildlife rescue service across Bristol, Somerset, Wiltshire, South Gloucestershire, Devon and Dorset.


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