Ireland’s First Ever Dedicated Wildlife Hospital

Petfix Club
11th March 2021 - 2 min read

Ireland has a huge, hidden population of native wild animals and birds. From red squirrels and rabbits to foxes and badgers, there are many mammals, and there’s a long list of birds too. Have you ever stopped to think what happens to these creatures if they fall ill or are injured?

red squirrel on cage

It’s often left to members of the public to help out if they find wildlife in trouble, and there’s a really good website that offers first aid advice to anyone who finds themselves in this situation.

Local vets are often willing to offer pro bono help to wild creatures in trouble, and sometimes after simple treatment, casualties can be released successfully back into the wild.

fox in hay

Sometimes, however, a more prolonged period of care is needed, for animals who need a course of treatment, or who need a few weeks or months to recover from a health crisis. Up until now in Ireland, the only option for these cases was home-care by an informal network of volunteers who have applied for a licence from the National Parks and Wildlife Service to care for injured, disabled or orphaned wild animals, with the intention of later releasing them into the wild. These folk do their best, but last year they had to deal with 5000 calls: the work load has just been too much for them to cope, especially with the added complications of COVID.

the animal manager and volunteer
The Animal Manager and a Volunteer

The exciting news is that at last, after nearly a decade of planning and dreaming, Ireland’s first ever dedicated wildlife hospital has opened. A pub in County Meath had to close because of the pandemic, and the premises happened to have stables and a barn that were also lying idle. A deal was done with the owners, and immediately, the facilities have begun to be converted into animal caring facilities, with kennels, runs, cages and an intensive care unit. There are fields nearby for ponds and exercising areas to be developed, and there’s even basic living accommodation for volunteers and office space in the upstairs area of the pub.

animal manager
The Animal Manager

Pete takes a Visit

“Last weekend, I visited the new WRI Wildlife Hospital, driving up with a trailer to deliver a donation of animal kennel units that my veterinary practice no longer needed. There was a real buzz around the new hospital, with the team from Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland busily renovating and transforming the facility into a twenty first century animal care centre. There were over fifty casualties being looked after there already, including swans, seabirds, garden birds, hedgehogs and owls.”

Pete with trailer kennels

It’s going to cost around €140,000 every year to keep this exciting wildlife hospital open: to help, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/Irelands-Wildlife-Hospital/donate