Posted: Sun 6th Mar 2022

Animal lovers encouraged to join specialist team of volunteers to help local wildlife

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Mar 6th, 2022

Animal lovers across north Wales are being invited to join a specialist team of volunteers to get up close, personal and hands-on with local wildlife.

The RSPCA has launched new drive to expand its team of dedicated Wildlife Casualty Volunteers (WCVs), which provide invaluable support on the frontline in protecting sick, injured and orphaned wildlife.

WCVs collect sick, injured or orphaned birds and small mammals, and transport them to RSPCA wildlife centres, external wildlife rehabilitators or appropriate veterinary establishments – acting as first responders for the charity.

The volunteers also help release rehabilitated wildlife back into the environment from which they were rescued – something which can be “incredibly rewarding” for those passionate about animal welfare.

WCVs play a key role in the RSPCA’s mission to protect animals – attending to 1,248 collections of animals since the start of 2021.

In total, 28 of those collections were in North Wales – and the RSPCA hopes to increase its WCV capacity in the region to support its inspectorate and ensure more wild animals in need can be reached as quickly as possible.

RSPCA chief inspector Kelly Lake said: “Our wildlife casualty volunteers are our first responders – offering crucial support and help to wildlife by transporting them for life-saving rehabilitation.

“Across England and Wales, our WCVs have helped us collect over 1,200 wild animals since the start of 2021; but we’re looking to recruit even more to support our animal rescue teams to help even more animals in need.

“It’s an incredibly rewarding role – providing a lifeline to animals; and even helping release them back to the wild after periods of rehabilitation and care.

“In North Wales, we urgently need more of these superhero first responders to volunteer with us – so we’re really hoping anyone interested in getting up close to our beautiful wildlife, and transporting them to centres for urgent rehabilitation and care, will apply to join this amazing team.”

North Wales chief inspector Leanne Hardysaid they are looking forward to expanding their volunteering team.

Jobs dealt with by volunteers have included the collection of injured gulls, hedgehogs and birds. These animals in need have been transferred to RSPCA Bryn-Y-Maen Animal Centre or to a local vets.

“In North Wales our volunteers assist us with our many gull collections, as our patch is very coastal,” she explained.

“We are hugely busy in the summer months with injured gulls across the coastal towns so our WCV’s are very helpful with those types of welfare calls.”

A full list of WCV vacancies is available on the RSPCA website.

The RSPCA says the role is “a unique opportunity” to help animals on the frontline – and some WCVs have gone onto work for the RSPCA’s inspectorate.

Inspector Richard Carr spent 18 months volunteering on weekends as a WCV, before later becoming a full-time RSPCA inspector.

He added: “I’ve always been interested in wildlife, and was keen to get involved with the RSPCA – so volunteering as a WCV was a unique opportunity.

“I learned so much, and it really confirmed my passion and interest in animal welfare.

“Whenever I was volunteering, I was always so struck by the passion the public had for wildlife and it was great to be able to do my bit to help – from collecting injured birds, to releasing hedgehogs, and so much more.

“I had a little bit of spare time on the weekends – and learned so much in the role. It also proved really useful when I went onto work for the RSPCA permanently too – first as an animal collection officer, and now as an inspector.”

WCVs will need to be able to drive, and have access to their own vehicle. They will also need their own smartphone – however, all other kit and training will be provided by the RSPCA; and relevant expenses incurred will also be reimbursed.

Volunteers will also be kitted out with a professionally fitted face mask due to zoonotic disease risks associated with collecting some species of wildlife.

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