The Chairman Writes…

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Dear Members

I am sat at my desk preparing my article for our very first 2015 magazine which hopefully will be with you by February.  I really find it hard to comprehend how 2014 has slipped past so quickly.  Perhaps because we have so many dates such as office meetings, fund raising events, talks and of course the running of the sanctuary and managing the shop and office—it really does not give my team and myself time to think about each days events and before you know it the week has passed.  Then suddenly the month has disappeared which quickly develops into six months and incredibly from there the year has ended and we are entering a new one!

I am studying the diary for January and see so many dates have been booked for the coming months.  These days there never seems to be any time for us all to catch our breath before we have some large or tiny creatures brought through our doors to care and look after.  Spring is a time when we have a burst of young animals and birds being born or hatched and of course with this event come the sick and injured.  Like so many organisations it can become extremely busy and very demanding but of course we do this to help protect our animal kingdom and like all of us they too sometimes need nursing back to health.  Our world is so fragile at the moment and as animal lovers we must all stand together and help animals were we can!

This is why I am asking you to continue to support the work we do and to encourage others to join our quest and help animals.  If you can encourage one new member to join our work this helps us financially and allows us to take our work forward and help those that can not speak for themselves.  There are other areas you could also help us raise funds and make others aware of the work we do by organising a coffee morning, a cake stand or perhaps deliver some leaflets in your area, this helps to spread the word and hopefully others will join us and help us to make the world a better place for our animals here and abroad!  If you would like some extra magazines or leaflets please get in touch and we will despatch these to you as soon as we can—any help will  boost our funds and allow us to take up more challenges!  Whatever is happening in the world we must stand united in helping those who can not speak for themselves!

You will see from the photographs that we had an influx of underweight hedgehogs during November and you will probably remember the weather through late summer into autumn was extremely mild.  Sometimes hedgehogs will have a second litter during September which does not allow the young hoglets enough time to put on weight to see them through the winter months.  This can be devastating for some hedgehogs when we endure particularly cold spells as nature tells them its time to sleep throughout the cold months and to hibernate.  Unfortunately this can mean underweight hedgehogs may not survive the winter months!  As you can see from the photographs of the hedgehogs I have at the sanctuary they are being fed every day.  However the bigger ones do not eat every day but the smaller ones are still tucking into plates of food.  God willing they will all continue to be healthy and I will be able to release them back into the wild once big enough and when the weather begins to improve, hopefully late Spring!

Hedgehog numbers are becoming increasingly less and less due to their natural habitat being lost, road kill, and poisoning from slug pellets and pesticides.  They are adorable creatures and we really must do our up most to  protect them where we can.  I can fully understand why they appear in much loved children’s stories and of course the famous Beatrix Potter books which illustrates them beautifully bringing them to life as do all the other wonderful creatures included in her stories.  It is important to remember hedgehogs are good for the gardens helping to rid the garden of slugs and snails naturally!

Guinea fowl
Guinea fowl

Back in November during my daily visits to feed my cows I have to travel approximately three miles out of Fordingbridge along a very narrow country lane.  One morning whilst on my way to feed as I turned the corner I saw a very strange bird was running along the verge desperately trying to find a way back through the hedge.  I stopped my vehicle and traffic while the bird which was a guinea fowl and very agile found a suitable gap in the hedge to get back into the fields where it was living.

I tried many mornings with the help of other passer-by’s to capture the bird as I firmly believed it would get run over or hurt!  My worst fears were realised when I received a call from a lady saying that she had found the guinea fowl on the road with a injured leg.  Naturally I took him in straight away and made the bird comfortable.   Week by week his progress got better and I had thought he had turned a corner and would be ok.  Unfortunately the week before Christmas he kept sitting a lot and not  moving.  I decided to take him indoors into my conservatory to look after him.  Again he looked as if things were improving but alas I came down stairs two days before Christmas to find that he had passed away in his sleep.

As most will know they have beautiful black and white plumage with white spots and are extremely fast at running preferring to do this rather than fly.  They feed on insects and seeds and I can only assume that this one had escaped from somewhere or was abandoned at the road side as they normally live in groups and I understand they are birds that also mate for life.

My thanks to all of you who continue to support our work and for your kind donations, gifts, stamps, animal bedding and food etc.  We are truly grateful for all that you send and it makes a huge difference in helping the wildlife we care for.  I would like to take this opportunity in wishing everyone a happy New Year from us all here at Animals’ Voice.  We really couldn’t do it without everyone’s generosity!

God Bless and thank you.

Betty xxx