'NO WILD LIFE LEFT WITHOUT CARE'
[OUR UKWT VISION]
OUR WORK IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT.
WHAT GAPS ARE WE FILLING AND HOW ARE WE PLAYING OUR PART TO SERVE OUR UK WILDLIFE?
Back in August 2020 (when we first started up)...
Approximately 30% of wildlife casualties were being found by members of the public who couldn't drive or transport the wildlife casualty/orphan to medical care (so the animals were at risk of not getting to a Vet/Rescue in time or at all).
Most of the approximately 4000 Vet Practices in the UK had no support to transport wildlife casualties out of their practices (which were often not set up to be suitable for wildlife, even in the short term) and across to a local Wildlife Rescue.
As a response to these situations...
We set up a nationwide network of Volunteer Wildlife Drivers. Anyone could phone our main UKWT number or find us through the UKWT Facebook group and ask for help transporting a wildlife casualty. Very quickly, our phone was ringing off the hook, 7 days a week, from both Vet Practices & members of the public. We would sort out a space for the animal at a local Rescue Centre and then send a Driver over to pick up the animal and transport it to proper care, ASAP.
We transported almost 600 wildlife casualties/orphans to medical/ongoing care during our first almost 2 years (August 2020 to June 2022) . We also assisted approximately another 2000 members of the public to find rescue space and gave advice on how to provide high welfare conditions during transport, so that they could transport the casualty/orphan themselves, to medical/ongoing care. As demand for help exploded, I realised that we could do a lot more, if we upgraded our way of working. It's a BIG vision but - if we manage it - it means that every wildlife casualty in the UK can be caught in a safety net and hopefully delivered to their next chance...
UKWT still stands up for the rights of every wild life to receive the same care and consideration as we humans have come to expect for ourselves - to be treated as individuals and with respect and kindness, their lives valued and fought for - when they are poorly or injured or orphaned.
Here's how we are set up now, compared to before June 2022...
SUPPORTING VET PRACTICES
It can be very difficult for busy Vets Practices to treat wildlife casualties (and not just euthanase on arrival) because the casualty will always need to be moved onto a Rescue Centre for longer term rehab afterwards. By providing Vets with their own list of local Volunteer Transport Drivers (recruited, equipped & funded by UKWT) we support Vets to treat wildlife and then move them out of the Practice site instead of thinking that their only logistical option is to ‘Put To Sleep.’
As a standard Vet Practice sees around 30 wildlife casualties/orphans a month during Spring/Summer (see where we got this number from, below) and we have 50 Vet Practices already asking for UKWT Transport Support now, that's 1500 wildlife casualties/orphans to transport each month, from March to October, from Vet Practices and across to local Wildlife Rescues (see how/why below)...
By the end of 2023 we want to have grown even further - ready for next year's wildlife baby season - to serve 100 Vet Practices, by being ready to transport the 3000 wildlife casualties/orphans that they will have in, every month.
By the end of 2027, we hope to be serving all 4000 Vet Practices in the UK, offering transport support for the 120,000 wildlife casualties/orphans they'll be collectively seeing every month (during the busy Spring/Summer months).
[Of course, we will still be running during the Autumn/Winter - quieter - months, but the numbers will be a lot lower.]
Read on, where did I get these numbers from......?
After chatting to some Practices to get an idea of numbers, I have settled on '30' being a very approximate/average number of wildlife casualties/orphans that your ‘average’ Vet Practice may see during the busier months (approximately one a day) because...
Some Vet Practices won’t see any wildlife - either from being too small or not set up to help them - and some larger Practices will see 100s. The figure of ’30’ was settled on because that was the average number reported by some Vet Practices and they felt they were fairly standard and with some Practices not seeing any wildlife and some seeing 100s, the figure of ’30’ was a safe, conservative estimate figure, to quote, to spread across all UK Vet Practice efforts].
We know - from consulting with a number of Vet Professionals - that just by having transport support (mostly by moving wildlife casualties out of a Practice ASAP after initial triage/care, to a local Wildlife Rescue) we can save the unnecessary euthanasia of 10,000s wildlife casualties every month. (Vets won't PTS because they don't care. Often it's just because a loud and busy Practice is a terrifying place for a wildlife casualty and without an easily accessible option to move the casualty onto, sometimes Vet Professionals are under pressure to euthanase, simply to stop the animal from feeling stress/fear and suffering while on site. With the right support, Vet Professionals will go out of their way to help a wild animal…)
We are growing as quickly as we can to have 1000s of UKWT Volunteer Wildlife Drivers established as a kind of wildlife loving safety net across the UK with at least one Driver in an area always being available to pick up a casualty/orphan from a Vet Practice ASAP after assessment/treatment, to move them onto local Wildlife Rescues for their next stage of care.
A REMINDER OF OUR GOALS
Our goal for this year is to establish ourselves to serve a minimum of 100 Vet Practices: so playing our part to help 3000 wildlife casualties a month.
Our 5 year goal is to hopefully establish ourselves enough - with staff/volunteers and enough funds/reliable income - to support all 4000 Vet Practices in the UK, playing our part to support/save 120,000 wildlife casualties/orphans every Spring/Summer month, with at least one Driver in an area always being available to pick up a casualty/orphan from a Vet Practice ASAP after assessment/treatment, to move them onto local Wildlife Rescues for their next stage of care.
SUPPORTING WILDLIFE RESCUES
At UKWT, we know from previous experience that up to 30% of wildlife casualties/orphans get found by members of the public with no vehicle or transport support. By setting ourselves up with 1000s of UKWT Volunteer Wildlife Drivers across the UK, we are setting ourselves up to support every Wildlife Rescue (on our map) with a list of Volunteer Drivers (fully equipped with carriers & disinfectant and that we fully fund expenses for).
We are working very hard to make sure that Wildlife Rescues have enough UKWT Volunteer Drivers available to them call up and send out to pick up wildlife casualties. (No wildlife casualty/orphan left without help and without medical care).
HELPING VETS TO HELP VETS
In partnership with the Wildlife Care Badge, we are offering every Vet Practice in the UK (at the same time as offering them our Driver Support) the ‘Vet Wildlife Support Package’. (Check out the VWSP through this link: https://www.wildlifecarebadge.com/vwsp)
Why is this package so important? As only 1% of Vets leave school with any wildlife training (and each wild species requires specialist care) making the VWSP accessible/available nationwide will make a huge difference to many wild lives: it could ensure that 1000s of wildlife casualties (who are dropped into Vets Practices, by members of the public) are successfully treated instead of being euthanased due to lack of knowledge or being accidentally mistreated because the Vet Professionals in question are unfamiliar with the wild species they are examining.
Most Vets will do all that they can to try and help wildlife casualties that come into them. This package (a collection of 'How To Guides' from wildlife trained Vets, for General Practice Vets to use, in practice) will hopefully aid in the treatment of 100s of wildlife casualties. Match that with our transport support and wildlife could find much greater access to medical care, nationwide...
IMPORTANT NOTE... Ideally, whilst we ONLY want to grow to ensure that no struggling animal is left without help, when they need it, it is also very important to me that we remember that most of these wildlife casualties and orphans are suffering from avoidable incidents. The undermined health & well being of these animals could be from habitat loss and lack of food & water in their local areas, or these animals could have been hurt or orphaned because of traffic or litter or poisons within their local environments. All of these are avoidable, if we humans start living in far greater harmony with our planet. That is why I am endeavouring to FUND our UKWT efforts by helping us all to live wildly: inviting us all to act as a means of preventing the suffering of our UK wildlife, as well as stepping in to help if they need it.