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Ireland’s first wildlife hospital is open for care

Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland’s hospital in Meath has treated a large range of wild animals since its opening earlier in February, ranging from badgers to squirrels. 

What do you do when you come across a wild animal injured and in distress?

The answer to that question hasn’t always been clear. The Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland (WRI) charity aims to bring various smaller wildlife welfare organisations under a single umbrella to allow for better organisation of wildlife rehabilitation services. 

“If I could give one piece of advice to anyone who comes across a young animal who they think could be abandoned, it would be to ring our helpline.”

AOIFE MCPARTLIN, WRI EDUCATION OFFICER

“Last year our helpline took around 5,600 calls, so it’s great that the awareness is there, WRI’s education officer Aoife McPartlin told The Liberty. 

“I think with people being in their gardens and out in parks more, animals are being noticed.” 

While noticing and wanting to help animals is a positive step towards the preservation of wildlife, McPartlin said the starting point should be not to interfere – don’t bring that wild rabbit home! 

“If I could give one piece of advice to anyone who comes across a young animal who they think could be abandoned, it would be to ring our helpline. 

“It is completely normal for parents to leave their babies for a few hours or even the day while they go off and hunt. Most of the time they aren’t actually abandoned – unless they have been that way for a while.”

The WRI’s hospital was originally going to be in north Dublin. “The idea of building a wildlife hospital had been in the pipeline for about ten years. About five years ago we were offered a site in Donabate by Fingal County Council, but with the pandemic unfortunately all that fell through.”

Photo courtesy of the WRI Wildlife Hospital.

The new site is in Meath, just off the M3 beyond Dunshaughlin, on the site of the Tara na Rí pub. The McCarthys, who own the pub, offered the use of their site, and the hospital has been running on donations and favours provided by the public.

“The McCarthy’s had closed their pub because of COVID, and they had large patches of land and stables to treat the animals,” McPartlin said. “It made perfect sense and they’ve been brilliant. The public support has been phenomenal.”

The WRI accepts donations on its website, where there are also details on what to do if you find an animal. The helpline is on (0818) 877766 or (01) 6877766. 

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