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Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary

Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary has grown into a charity that takes in nearly 4000 rescues annually with a team of over 60 dedicated volunteers. In this article, we look at who they are and how you can support them.

Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary is a 24/7 Wildlife Rescue Centre in North Yorkshire. They are dedicated to rescuing, caring and rehabilitating sick, injured and orphaned wild animals and birds. In this article, we discuss the incredible work they do.

A rescued fox at the wildlife sanctuary.
All images are from Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary Facebook Page.

What is Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary?

Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary was founded in 2009 when the founder, Alexandra Farmer, volunteered at a local veterinary practice. She noticed that they occasionally received wild casualties without room to keep them long-term. With a couple of spare cages at home, she offered to help. But before she knew it, she started getting calls for all injured wildlife in the area, and soon enough, the second veterinary practice in town was also calling for help. The need for this kind of charity became apparent, as she also started to get calls from other towns!

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Owls at the wildlife sanctuary.
They give nature a helping hand, which it truly deserves.

Ten years later, they have grown to become a charity that takes in close to 4000 rescues a year with a team of over 60 dedicated volunteers. Sometimes, people ask if their work interferes with nature, but they reply that most wildlife casualties are caused by human interference in the first instance. It’s essential to right those wrongs and give nature a helping hand, which it truly deserves.


What type of animals do they work with?

80% of the rescues they admit are birds. Still, Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary admits all kinds of wildlife, such as garden birds, pigeons, corvids, game birds, birds of prey, seabirds, wild waterfowl, rodents, squirrels, hedgehogs, rabbits, hares, the red fox, badgers and other mustelids, reptiles, and amphibians. They also rescue and transport seal pups in the area too.

Feral Kittens at Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary.
Feral kittens.

In addition to the diverse range of wildlife they care for, they also assist feral cats. Feral cats are not friendly or approachable and can typically care for themselves. If they are healthy, they can live happily outside. However, it is highly recommended to help these cats by at least neutering them. If rescued early, they can potentially be rehomed. They are ideal for outdoor homes such as stables, smallholdings, farms, and large gardens. Admission of feral cats in recent years has shed light on the prevalence of these cats, their breeding habits, and how young they can start breeding.

To ensure that domestic animals receive the help they need, they work with various other groups, including the RSPCA.
To ensure that domestic animals receive the help they need, they work with various other groups, including the RSPCA.

Although primarily focused on wildlife rehabilitation, the charity receives calls for assistance with other animals. To ensure that domestic animals receive the help they need, they work with various other groups, including the RSPCA, Cats Protection League, The Dogs Trust, The British Hen welfare trust, and the Horse Welfare Society. Additionally, the charity collaborates with several local charities in neighbouring towns.


What facilities do they have?

Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary bought its own land, and its facilities were custom-built in 2020 to meet its unique needs. Before that, they were leasing land from Broomfields Farm to run their charity. As the charity grew and took in more rescues, it became clear that its facilities were inadequate. Fortunately, they now have ample space to care for their resident animals and those needing temporary care and medical attention. Their site also has plenty of room for expansion, so they can continue to grow and provide better services to their animals. Each species they work with has custom facilities, which give them the best chance for successful rehabilitation and release. 


Is Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary open to the public?

They are not open to the public because they often house very ill animals, some of which may be contagious. They strive to maintain a quiet, restful, and natural environment for their animals, limiting human contact to a minimum.


The Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary team

The success of Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary is attributed to the hard work and dedication of the team who work within the charity
The success of Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary is attributed to the hard work and dedication of the team who work within the charity.

The success of Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary is attributed to the hard work and dedication of the team who work within the charity. Alexandra Farmer, the charity founder, oversees the overall running of the charity alongside a team of fantastic volunteers. The Beck Veterinary Practice serves as the chosen Veterinary Surgeon, and Pam Henderson manages the charity shop in Whitby. You can learn more about their team and learn how to get involved here.


How you can help Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary

There are many ways you can help the sanctuary.

Not everyone is able to volunteer on site. If you are looking for other ways to contribute to helping wildlife, they welcome your support through fundraising.
Not everyone can volunteer on site. If you are looking for other ways to contribute to helping wildlife, they welcome your support through fundraising.

Visit the Charity Shop 

The Charity Shop is located at 65 Haggersgate, Whitby. The charity also holds jumble sales in village halls all year round as part of its fundraising efforts. They rely on donations from the public, and every item sold contributes to its cause. Donations of clothes, books, toys, jewellery, DVDs, or any other item in good condition are welcome. Anyone interested in hosting a sale or helping with car boots can contact the Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary.

Volunteering

Volunteering opportunities include routine jobs such as cleaning and feeding wildlife and hand-feeding youngsters during the spring and summer months. Volunteers also assist with washing up, keeping the areas clean and tidy, mopping floors, and preparing feeds. Outside enclosures require regular mucking out; all outdoor wildlife need fresh food and water daily. Maintenance and upkeep of outside enclosures are also crucial to the sanctuary’s operation. They welcome volunteers for any amount of time at their convenience.

Fundraising

Not everyone is able to volunteer on site. If you are looking for other ways to contribute to helping wildlife, they welcome your support through fundraising. They are constantly seeking individuals to assist with organising events and fundraisers. Your efforts would be greatly appreciated and make a difference in their continued efforts to support wildlife conservation.

Donate

The charity relies solely on public support to carry out its work, as they do not receive government funding for its monthly running costs of £5,000. Donations are, therefore, crucial to the charity’s financial stability. Those who wish to contribute can do so through the ‘Donate’ button, either as a one-time donation or by setting up a regular direct debit. Just follow this link.

Click here for more ways you can help the sanctuary.


You can find their advice here if you encounter an injured wild animal. We hope this article has been helpful and you have learnt more about Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary and the incredible work they do. Please support them however is suitable for you!

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