Monday, 5 December 2016

New Arrivals

We have welcomed a few new arrivals at the Centre recently. Most noticeably, as many of you regular visitors have already seen, are a couple of new foxes called "Basil" and "Ted". These two foxes were rescued and hand reared at Riverside Animal Rescue Centre. Having become too attached to humans they needed a permanent home to go to, and so this is where we stepped into help.

We have kept it a little quiet, as introducing new animals to an established group can sometimes be a bit tricky, but in the case of these two it seems we had nothing to worry about. After a lengthy introduction process, they all seem to be getting on well. In fact Basil, pictured above, and Ted are already regulars for the keeper talk... and as you can see from above, like posing for the camera.

As well as two new foxes, a couple of months a go a rescued weasel arrived on our doorstep. This little female was on deaths door, and we did not expect her to make it through the first night. But keeper Izzy took her under her wing, and with regular nightly feeds for the first few nights and a lot of TLC managed to nurse her back to full health.

With the attention this little weasel needed to survive, she has become quite attached to Izzy, and so release was not an option. So now "Nina" as we have named her, lives in our hedgerow enclosure for you to meet. She is most active in the later afternoon if you want to try and get a glimpse of her.

Some more exciting news to announce in a week or so, but until then have a look at a few photos of our otters on the ice these past few days!

Friday, 2 December 2016

Animal Catch Up

Wow, what a busy time of year for us. Usually after the summer opening has come and gone we can catch a breather, but booked groups and animal coming and goings have been on the up. All good of course and great that the Centre is doing so well.

So well in fact that our owner, and Centre founder David Mills has been recognised for his hard work and was awarded an MBE for services to wildlife conservation... Congratulations David!

So, we are probably due a bit of a catch up here... You of course remember our wildcat kittens?! Macavity and Kendra had three lovely kittens earlier this year. Unfortunately the slightly runty one didn't make it, but the other two are a picture of health. Both are females and have been named "Morag" and "Merida" They will eventually move on to other collections to aid in the wildcat conservation breeding program that we are part of, with hopes of releases as soon as 2019!

Our red squirrels have had a real bumper year, and we have gained some new lines/genetics with swapping of livestock with other groups around the country. I mentioned earlier in the year another island release which David has been planning... It is still going ahead, and the squirrels we sent over there earlier this year are doing well, but our second lot of squirrels that where going to head over this autumn we have decided to delay.

With the weather looking quite harsh for the winter, we have decided to keep the youngster here where they are safe, and send them over in the spring when things warm up and settle down. Hopefully this will give them a much better start. Much more news on this as and when it happens next year.

The deer rut is over for both the red and fallow. Lots of posturing and dominant calling, but not a lot of actual rutting this year. But probably unsurprisingly Albus Dumbledeer, above, remains the master stag. He better watch out for Olivander next year though as he will be much more of a contender then. 

Some new arrivals to the Centre too, which I will announce over the coming weeks. Next up of course though will be Novembers photo of the month. 

Oh, and what's that I hear you cry... "We haven't seen a pine marten photo for what feels like aaaaages Matt?"... Oh OK then, here you go.

Keep your eye out for our new arrivals over the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Animals on TV

Have you seen the John Lewis Christmas advert for this year yet? Not giving too much away, but it features some British wildlife.

So why am I mentioning it?.. Well, a few weeks a go "Sky" visited us to film part of a TV short to accompany this advert. They wanted to produce a piece showing the public what they could do in their gardens at home to help our wildlife.

Presenter Patrick Aryee, pictured above with one of our red squirrels, was filmed with a few of our animals and they used some stock footage that they filmed here on previous visits. Along with what they filmed with a South London community taking part in the Hedgehog Street campaign, they put together a piece called "Garden Friends" which aired shortly after the premiere of the John Lewis Christmas advert.

To see the advert, follow this link to the Wildlife Trusts page who were this years John Lewis charity campaign partners. Here you can also see and learn about many ways in which we can help our wildlife in our gardens at home.

Below is the short "Garden Friends", that stars many of our animals, including Hugo the Hedgehog and Florence the owl.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

October 2016: Photo of the Month

"Otter Standing" by Karen Gray

Temperatures are getting colder, days are getting shorter, but it doesn't seem to be stopping you photographers out there. We have seen a surprising amount of grass snake photos this past month... Surprsing that he is still up to be seen, despite the colder weather, and surprising due to how shy he used to be. Good old Gerald though, putting on a good show.

It wasn't a grass snake photo we chose though, we went for the photograph above taken by Karen Gray of Elwood standing near the edge of the pond.

A standing otter photo is difficult to take for many reasons, and this is one by Karen is one of the best I have seen. Elwood is posing majestically and looking beautifully in to the frame. The composition is spot on, and you have the added bonus of a great background. Clean, non distracting, and showing their semi aquatic habitat perfectly. Great photo Karen.

"Otter" by Gary Chisholm

Unlike a lot of our animals, our otters seem to prefer the cooler weather. Lots of lovely otter portrait were seen this month, like this one above taken by Gary Chisholm.

"Red Deer Rut" by Stan Maddams

And of course an October photo of the month post wouldn't be complete with at least one deer picture. Our stags didn't really rut this year, but the occasionally 'practice' tussle was had such as this one caught by Stan Maddams. Hopefully this is good signs for next year!

Well done again to Karen, her photograph will be in the gallery next year in our Coffee shop and is in the running to win a photographic day here at the Centre next year.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Hibernation and Winter Talks

We have had a great year for dormouse births this year, three litters between our two pairs see us housing 11 kits which will be released back to the wild next year, along with several others bred at other Centres across the UK. 

As with previous years, these new youngsters will hibernate here over the winter before being prepared for release as they emerge from their winter sleep next year. 

With hibernation in mind, it is not just our hazel dormice that hibernate. Our edible dormice do too, along with our hedgehogs and bats.

During this time these animals lower their heart rate, breathing rate and body temperature. They sleep for long periods of time, but do still stir occasionally on milder nights.

Although none of our other animals truly hibernate, some do cut down their activity a lot. Badgers being one of the main ones.With this in mind, along with the winter closing time of 4pm, we have to alter our Keeper Talk schedule a bit... and it a return of an old favourite. The polecats.

From this weekend keep in mind we now close at 4pm with last entrance at 3pm, due to the evenings getting darker sooner.

Also, take a quick look at our new Keeper Talk schedule linked above. It is the usual winter schedule, and simply means no more hedghogs, badgers or pine martens. Owls is now at 3pm, and we have added polecats in to the schedule at 1pm.