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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sprung from their homes by the season's extreme wet weather...the adorable baby animals which are drying out at a rescue centre

By David Wilkes

As the gales raged and the floods rose, their homes were destroyed, they were orphaned or separated from their parents and their young lives hung in the balance.

But all these baby animals were lucky enough to be rescued from the ravages of this Spring’s extreme weather and are now recovering at rescue centres.

Perhaps most dramatically illustrating the terrible toll wrought on our wildlife by the wettest April since records began, the nine little tawny owls that have been taken in by staff at HART Wildlife Rescue near Alton, Hampshire.

One rescue centre is considering closing its doors having seen a large influx of animals needing shelter including nine young tawny owls

Its latest arrivals also include a clutch of six blue tits who were brought in complete with their nest after it fell out of a tree.

The centre’s senior clinical assistant Caragh Hunter said: ‘We’ve never had so many owlets - more in the last few weeks than we had all last year.

‘Two were found inside a fallen tree - they’d been nesting in its hollow trunk. The others were found after being blown from trees. They’re all between four and eight weeks old. One was saved after a crow attacked it on the ground.

‘We’re nearly full up, the weird spring weather is definitely to blame. When it was hot a few weeks ago we had hedgehogs being brought to us that were dehydrated, we’ve got sixteen of them in now.’

She added: ‘Sometimes people are too quick to step in and help. If you find an owl pick it up and put it on a branch. Its parents will probably come back soon to feed it. Whatever you do, phone a rescue centre for advice before bringing it in.’

Their birds and animals will also be released back into the wild around September after being restored to full health.

The two badger cubs were heard screaming outside their swamped sett before they were rescued

Carer Sara Cowen with an orphaned badger called Hope who was found screaming at just 14-weeks old

Staff have a similar story to tell with two 14 week old badger cubs that were heard screaming outside their swamped sett in the Mendip Hills in Somerset.

When water began pouring in to their underground home, their mother had led them to the surface. But then her own instinct for survival and natural drive to save herself so she could breed again took over and she abandoned them.

Shivering, scared and starving, the pair - a male and a female - would have perished had not their anguished cries been heard by a nearby villager who alerted the Secret World Rescue sanctuary in nearby Highbridge.

Their staff rescued them and have nicknamed them Poseidon, after the ancient Greek god of the sea, and Miranda, after the character in The Little Mermaid.

Both needed veterinary treatment but have since made a full recovery. They are now living in a family group with other badgers at the centre and will be released back into the wild in the Autumn.

A nest of newly-hatched blue tits was blown from a tree today as a result of the fierce gales

The blue tits are also being cared for at HART Wildlife Rescue



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