Where the Wild Things are helped by human heroes

In these difficult times and in the midst of a second nationwide lockdown, it’s not just us humans who are struggling, but our animal friends too, and the charities and volunteers who help them.

The rescued deer cared for by Wild Things.

Wild Things Rescue is a county-wide rescue charity founded by Lucy Steele, of Tattershall, in 2016 which aims to care for ill, injured or stranded wildlife and release them successfully back into the wild.

“I’ve always brought home waifs and strays and I was working at a vet practice when the only rescue centre for wildlife closed down, so I thought I could do it,” said Lucy.

Lucy set up her Wild Things Rescue Facebook page and soon had more than 1,000 followers, and was receiving ten messages a day from people asking for advice.

Lucy Steele, founder of Wild Things Rescue.

Wild Things now has more than 3,000 Facebook followers and Lucy has a team of admin volunteers and foster carers who specialise in many different species, as well as help from vet practices all over the county to help with the medical side of animal care.

Over the years the charity has taken in and cared for a huge variety of animals and birds, including ducks, kestrels, deer, hedgehogs, foxes, rabbits, pigeons, and many more.

Lucy has been co-ordinating the entire operation while caring for her baby daughter Lyra, now nine months old.

Just some of the rescue’s latest saves include a tawny owl who was found with a broken bone in its wing next to a road, and after some cage rest and rehabilitation, was later released successfully back into the wild.

One of Wild Things' rescued birds of prey.

Then there’s the successful rescue of a newborn deer who was spotted by a member of the public and taken in by one of Lucy’s fosters, who successfully nursed the fawn back to health before he went off to a deer rescue in Kings Lynn.

As is common at this time of year, Lucy said that there have been many hedgehogs coming through the doors of their fosterer’s home in need of care and rehabilitation, including a mother and three four-day-old hedgehogs out near Sutterton who were treated at a vets and successfully released back into the wild, although one baby sadly died.

Lucy said: “Normally hedgehogs go into hibernation once temperatures go below 5∘c but last week temperatures were 11∘c one night and then down to 4∘c the next, which is very confusing for them.

“And of course in lockdown people have been doing much more gardening and have been accidentally disturbing nests.”

A gaggle of ducklings rescued by the RSPCA in Newark

As Wild Things doesn’t have its own animal hospital, nor are there any official wildlife hospitals in Lincolnshire, the rescue relies on veterinary practices to have wildlife assessed and treated.

Lucy’s biggest ambition for the charity is to set up their own premises to offer an in-house rehabilitation facility for the animals they rescue, which is estimated to cost around £100,000.

“It may not be possible for a couple of years as we’ve got lots of fundraising to do, and we want a proper centre with dedicated wildlife vets,” Lucy said.

To make a contribution to the charity, you can do so via PayPal at [email protected]

A tiny, injured fox cub rescued by Wild Things.

Wild Things also has an Amazon wishlist where supporters can purchase much-needed food and equipment for the charity, which you can find at https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/1TL6Y54GXOJRI/ref=cm_go_nav_hz

Lucy said they want to get the word out there that if people need help with stricken wildlife, they can always ask for their help:

“We want people to know that they can always come to us for advice or help, we’ve seen a lot of people who think that they can’t ring the vet because they wouldn’t be interested, so have tried to care for the animal themselves so by the time they do contact a vet, the animal is too far gone to help,” she explained.

“People need to ask for advice instead of trying to do it themselves.”

To find out more about Wild Things Rescue, or to contact the charity to ask for help with a wildlife crisis, find them on Facebook on https://www.facebook.com/WildlifeInLincolnshireandDistrict/ or email Lucy on [email protected]

Top wildlife care tips

A gaggle of ducklings rescued by the RSPCA in Newark.

Lucy has given suggestions for readers to help wildlife in your garden:

Try to leave an area of your garden to grow more wild; you could leave a pile of logs there and let the grass grow long to allow natural diets and habitats to thrive, as up to 70 percent of a hedgehog’s diet is beetles and this could provide plenty of sustenance

Leave out bowls of water regularly and keep bird feeders topped up

It's important to clean your bird feeders regularly as dirty bird feeders are one of the biggest spreaders of disease, and it only takes one bird to fall ill for it to spread to the whole flock

Be aware of what wildlife frequents your garden, and if anything seems off, seek help.

Rabbit kits rescued by Wild Things.
The hedgehog family rescued by Wild Things in Sutterton.
One of Wild Things' rescue hedgehogs.
Vet nurse Ed Martin of Kirks Vets in Sleaford cares for a stricken tawny owl.