Aoifa McPartlin Education and Media Manager, WRI.

Helpline volunteers sought for Wildlife Rehab Hospital

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital is appealing for volunteers to staff their National Wildlife Emergency Helpline.

Seasaimhin McCarren of Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland explains that volunteers can work from home or if they wish from the wildlife hospital at Garlow Cross.

“We are looking for people to work a minimum of four hours a week. No knowledge of wildlife is necessary and we will provide training and mentoring,” she explains.

The helpline operates from 8am to 8pm each day and volunteers for the helpline are particularly necessary for the orphan season, when they get a lot of calls.

The aim of WRI is to provide sick, injured or orphaned wildlife the careful and skilled attention they need if they are to be rehabilitated and successfully reintegrated back to the wild.

|Seven months after opening the new hospital beside the Tara na Rí pub at Garlow Cross, outside Navan, several hundred animals have already been cared for there.

Aoife McParlin of WRI explains that the organisation has been inundated with calls since the start of the pandemic by people finding wildlife who are sick and injured.

She explains that Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland was founded in 2010 by Emma Higgs, a veterinary nurse who had set up the Irish Seal Sanctuary and realised the need for help for wildlife in general. The hospital was set up in February at the back of Tara na Ri. Aoife explains that the McCarthy family who own the pub have plans for the site and the hospital will eventually move into the adjacent field where a purpose-built hospital will be built.

“The bigger plan is to build a wildlife and teaching hospital with a visitor centre, but for now the facilities are great and include a spacious fully furnished three-bedroom apartment to house volunteers.

“The hospital is funded by donations and manned by wonderful volunteers.”

Aoife says the most important part of their work is enabling the rescued animals be released into the wild again.

“We keep interaction between humans and animals to a minimum. Some of the very young animals may have to be bottle fed but otherwise we keep well away from them, and we have special soft release enclosures, where we monitor them from a distance and prepare them for going back into the wild.