Popular wildlife rescue in urgent need for new home

Annette Pyrah of Selby Wildlife Rescue.
Annette Pyrah of Selby Wildlife Rescue.
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The founder of an animal rescue centre is searching for a willing farmer or landowner with land available to host her new headquarters as it is overwhelmed by requests to help injured animals and urgently needs to expand.

Annette Pyrah initially ran Selby Wildlife Rescue from her conservatory and has ambitions for it to become a registered charity but some requests to help injured animals have had to be turned down. More than 300 sick, injured or orphaned animals have been treated and cared for at the charity’s current base at Barlby, off the A19, in recent months.

In order for the charity to care for more animals, Ms Pyrah is looking for premises to rent, preferably in a remote area with no neighbours.

“The demand for wildlife care in this area is so high that the centre is constantly full,” she said. “There is no animal rescue which is solely dedicated to wildlife in this area apart from us.

“I started the rescue two years ago in my conservatory. Once the word was out, animals came to me from everywhere. I sold my car and with the money had a large log cabin built thinking that would be big enough. However, such is the demand for my wildlife rescue that we have even outgrown this.

“Some weeks we have to turn patients away as we simply don’t have the room and our emphasis is always on quality of care and not quantity.”

The centre benefits from the professional help of Minster Vets in York.

Ms Pyrah urged anyone with a suitable empty property to get in touch: “We are looking for a farm bungalow or a property in the middle of nowhere. It doesn’t have to be posh or with acres of land, but we do need services such as electricity and water.”

It was by chance that the animal lover fell into running a rescue centre. Having worked for British Coal as a personal secretary, she was made redundant when the mines closed and moved to Scotland where she lived on a remote Hebridean island off the Scottish west coast. But she left the outpost when she broke her leg and could no longer manage life on the rugged terrain.

“I returned home and foolishly said to my vet, how much I loved wildlife,” she said. “Next day, a young couple arrived on the doorstep with a tiny duckling. That was the start of things. I was retraining as a legal secretary at the time but that quickly went out of the window.”

Her wildlife rescue is not a sanctuary and anything which is admitted has to be viable for release back into the wild.

Since it origins in the conservatory, her operation has moved into a wood cabin which has been extended twice to accommodate more animals - but available space has been exhausted.

If she is unable to find an appropriate property to rent, she said she will explore buying a paddock or land with an existing structure and start from scratch with the ultimate aim of building Yorkshire’s first wildlife hospital complete with educational facilities to engage with young people.

Anyone who has a suitable property and may be willing to rent premises to the wildlife rescue can contact Ms Pyrah on 07803 180720 or via www.selbywildlife.co.uk

Horrific history of injured animals

All British Wildlife is cared for at the rescue centre, from owls, hedgehogs, songbirds, hares and rabbits, to ducklings, deer and birds of prey.

Ms Pyrah said: “Reasons for admission include, human cruelty, like the Little Owl, Rocky, who was strung up in a tree by yobs in a park. Or a pregnant hedgehog who was stoned by drunken youths. She came into rescue, miscarried her two babies and then died.

“In springtime it is mainly orphans or cat attacks on baby birds.”

She runs two large aviaries, with one dedicated to birds of prey.