Since the start of 2020, and especially through lockdown the RSPCA has dealt with nearly 11,000 wildlife incidents and is bracing for a further surge in calls to rescue sick, injured and orphaned wild animals as the breeding season starts.
Traditionally, April starts to see more hedgehogs coming into the charity’s wildlife centre, as they leave hibernation in search of food, but rescue teams also see a surge in other wildlife in Spring such as birds, as the breeding season gets underway.
Despite the lockdown, RSPCA rescue teams are continuing on the frontline as designated key workers and they’ve launched an emergency appeal to help them continue to rescue, rehabilitate and release the animals most in need through the crisis.
Our scientific officer, Evie Button, said: “Regardless of coronavirus, wild animals still need rescuing by the RSPCA and breeding season is the start of a really busy time for us.
“We’ll have lots of calls about baby birds, orphaned fox cubs and hedgehogs which have come out of hibernation and need help to build up their body weight.
“It’s Hedgehog Awareness Week which is very appropriate as these much-loved prickly creatures are the most frequent visitor to our wildlife centres.”
The most common reasons hedgehogs come into the care of the RSPCA are because they’re orphaned, underweight, injured or exhibiting abnormal behaviour indicative of ill health.
Since the start of the year and throughout lockdown, the animal charity has responded to 10,817 incidents about wildlife, 540 of which have been about hedgehogs.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic RSPCA teams are still heading out to work to help vulnerable animals in need and currently there are 823 wild animals in care at the charity hospitals.
As with many charities the RSPCA has launched an emergency appeal to help keep their rescue and animal care teams out on the frontline working.
Evie added: “Watching wildlife is such a great source of comfort to people at the moment and we are so grateful to the public for calling us when they are concerned about any animal.
“However in the case of baby animals, including fledglings, it’s often better to leave them where they are as they are often rescued by their mum or get themselves out of trouble. There’s lots of advice on our website.”