Oxfordshire Wildlife Rescue: charity which helps 3000 animals a year trying to fundraise £250,000 for new home
After two years on a rented farm, the wildlife rescue charity's landlord has given them a year's notice
The clock is ticking for a UK wildlife charity which helps thousands of sick, injured, and orphaned animals every year to find a new home.
Oxfordshire Wildlife Rescue rescues and rehabilitates animals - including deer, foxes, hedgehogs, owls, garden birds, voles and toads - throughout Oxfordshire and most of Berkshire, and sometimes even further afield. It has grown exponentially since 2017, and now works with as many as 3,000 animals each year, often brought in by concerned members of the public.
For the last few years, the wildlife conservation charity has been operating on rented land, but unfortunately their landlord has given them notice to vacate by October 2024, "citing uncertainties with the future of the farm". A spokesperson said: "If we don’t find a new home, the reality is that Oxfordshire Wildlife Rescue will probably cease to exist".
To secure its future, OWR is now seeking to buy its own land, and has found the perfect spot. The charity has this week started a GoFundMe campaign, to raise the £250,000 it needs to purchase it. "Land is not cheap, especially in the area over which we operate," a spokesperson wrote on GoFundMe. "We know times are hard for everyone right now, but if you’re able, please help us find our forever home and save the rescue."
In a video appeal, founder Luke Waclawek said the rescue began with just him and his wife in their home, rescuing about 30 animals a year. "[OWR] is now an organisation that sees thousands, thousands of sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife."
From their very first patient - a wood pigeon called Percy - the charity has grown, and now includes medics who attend rescue callouts, a 24-hour wildlife ambulance service for large, seriously injured native animals, and a casualty centre with vet staff - where wild animals can receive first aid.
It also has outdoors pens and aviaries, for animals which need some time to recover before being returned to the wild. The charity's plan if it is able to secure the new land is to build a fully-fledged wildlife hospital, the first of its kind in the region.
"We live in one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world," a spokesperson added. The 2023 State of Nature report found one in six species in the UK is at imminent risk of extinction. "Here at OWR we are incredibly honoured to play a part in trying to give that wildlife a second chance."