Operation Dormice Baby Rescue enters full swing this week!
Baby dormice from across Kent's woodlands are being rescued as 'Operation Dormice Baby Rescue' enters full swing this week.
These precious little babies, perhaps Britain's most endangered species are being scoured for by dedicated volunteers and urgently rushed back to Wildwood Trust's Dormouse Rescue Centre.
The Wildwood Trust conservation team are mounting a round the clock effort to welcome the dormice babies some as little as 6 days old and ensure their survival this winter.
A similar story has unfolded for many years as dormice sometimes have a second litter in late summer but if the weather becomes cold and wet the chances of survival for the late babies are very small. This is perhaps one of the many wildlife calamities that could pan out as global warming effects the wildlife of Britain.
But from this tragedy comes a ray of hope, Wildwood Trust's conservationists provide the warmth, sustenance and specialist care to keep these babies alive throughout the winter. These animals then enter our conservation breeding centre and their offspring form part of our efforts to reintroduce them to woodlands across the UK where they have gone extinct.
The Wildwood dormouse rescue centre is the biggest of its kind in the UK and the Canterbury based charity are very proud of their efforts in rescuing and breeding dormice for release.
"We work tirelessly to protect these animals and are proud that we play such a major role to reintroduce the Hazel Dormouse back to areas where they have become extinct. Wildwood is not only one of the leading dormouse breeders in the UK but is also an important centre for research into the behaviour and captive husbandry of the species."
"The hazel dormouse is now classed as extremely vulnerable to extinction but through projects such as this, Wildwood hopes to tip the balance back in favour of the dormouse." Three litters have already been rescued and more are on their way as volunteers across Kent are checking for babies that are under weight.https://youtu.be/nORNOLCAOfc
Usually dormice only have one litter of young per year. We think that many dormice have had a second litter this year because we have had a warm autumn and there is more fruit and nuts available on the trees. Second litters often don't survive especially if the you are underweight. It is thought that young dormice need to be a minimum of 15g at this time of year to be heavy enough to survive winter hibernation. These are only 6.5-7g each. Also if we have a cold snap the mother may go into hibernation leaving them to fend for themselves and they would not survive as they are not weaned.
Dormice are just one of the many endangered and nationally extinct animals that can be seen by visitors to Kent's unique conservation wildlife park. Wildwood offers its members and visitors a truly inspirational way to learn about the natural history of Britain by actually seeing the wildlife that once lived here, like the wolf, bear, beaver, red squirrel, wild boar and many more. To visit us go to www.wildwoodtrust.org or telephone 01227 712111.
Pictured in the Photographs is Wildwood Trust Senior Conservation Officer Hazel Ryan and Jill Tardivel, Volunteer with the PTES and the National Dormouse Monitoring Programme who rescued the babies from a Canterbury Woodland in the photographs and video.
We are also expecting 3 young dormice to arrive from Folly Wildlife Rescue in a few days. They have been hand rearing them for us as they were orphaned.
The Common Dormouse Captive Breeders Group, of which Wildwood is an active member, have a licence to take a certain number of dormice from the wild each year to help with the national reintroduction programme, either as new bloodlines for breeding stock or as additional animals for reintroducing into new sites.
In June 2018 dormice will be released into a secret location in a county where they previously became extinct.
High resolution photographs and full HD video in 25fps and 50fps are available from the Trust or we can arrange filming and interviews.
Wildwood Trust opened in 1999 as a centre of excellence for the conservation of British wildlife, and was established as a registered charity in 2002. Wildwood is Kent's best British wildlife park. Home to over 200 native animals, past and present and set in 40 acres of beautiful ancient woodland where visitors can see bears, wolves, bison, deer, owls, foxes, red squirrels, wild boar, lynx, wild horses, badgers and beavers plus many more. As one of the leading British animal conservation charities in the UK, Wildwood Trust is dedicated to saving Britain's most threatened wildlife. Wildwood Trust have taken part in many ground-breaking conservation programmes to date, which include, saving the water vole, using wild horses to help restore Kent's most precious nature reserves, bringing the extinct European beaver back to Britain and returning the hazel dormouse & red squirrel to areas where they have been made extinct.
Wildwood Trust Herne Common Herne Bay Kent CT6 7LQ