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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Construction of new wildlife hospital finally gets underway

Hedgehog (Photo: Folly Wildlife Rescue)Building work has finally begun on a new rescue centre which will provide vital treatment and care to sick and injured wildlife. When it is completed, the Broadwater Forest Wildlife Centre, which IAR has supported with a donation of £2,000, will cater for all kinds of wildlife in the Kent and Sussex area of the UK.

Dave Risley, who runs the existing Folly Wildlife Rescue Centre with his wife Annette at their home at Eridge Green near Tunbridge Wells, said: "We're relieved that work has finally started on the hospital. The groundwork will take between ten and 12 weeks and then we can start putting the buildings up in April. After that, it's just the small matter of fitting them all out!

"With luck we may be able to open at least part of the hospital at the end of the year, but this depends very much on how the funds come in. We've got sufficient funding to fit out two of the internal animal units to get us started. We've still got a long haul ahead, but at least we're finally on the way!"

Every year the centre takes in hundreds of hedgehogs, foxes, badgers, deer and wild birds in distress, the vast majority of them injured after coming into contact with human activities. A network of dedicated volunteers helps to transport and care for the patients, many of them so young that they need round the clock care.

During 2010 the Folly team cared for a grand total of 3406 birds and wild animals, and the number is likely to be at least as high this year. In the coming months, with the onset of spring, the centre will take in literally hundreds of young birds and animals that have been separated from their parents or orphaned before they are ready to fend for themselves. The existing centre soon becomes full to bursting point once spring is underway. But the new centre should allow plenty of room for expansion as time goes on.

The centre will include an intensive care unit, a quarantine unit and specialist units for hedgehogs, badgers and foxes as well as comfortable accommodation for animals receiving treatment. It is hoped that further down the line an education centre can also be built so that groups and schools can learn more about local wildlife and how to protect it.

Alan Knight OBE, Chief Executive of International Animal Rescue, sad: "I'm delighted to hear that construction of the new centre has finally started. Dave and Annette Risley work tirelessly to help wildlife in distress and have done a magnificent job raising funds for this project. I urge the public to support this new enterprise which will provide a vital service to the area. Many people come across sick or injured animals in their gardens or on the roads and it's a great comfort to have some one to call on for help."