PHOTOS: Behind the scenes at Ottery animal sanctuary ‘pushed to the brink’ by Covid lockdown

An animal sanctuary near Ottery St Mary has taken some behind-the-scenes photographs of its animals while the park is closed amid lockdown.

Staff at Wildwood Escot, home to native British species of animals, have been busy caring for a host of endangered British wildlife while the wildlife park remains closed to visitors because of the latest coronavirus lockdown.

Wildwood Trust – the charity behind Wildwood Escot – has launched a Covid appeal, in the hope the public support the animals and the sanctuary until parks can reopen, saying the pandemic has pushed its finances ‘to the brink’.

Although the park has been closed for almost three weeks, and – in a bid to keep costs down – many of the staff furloughed, the animals still need daily water, food, health checks, care, and training.

Escot

Teaching wolves with tongs, for enrichment.
Photo: Wildwood Escot.

Ottery

Teaching a lynx to be fed using tongs.
Photo: Wildwood Escot.

Ottery

A red squirrel being given a treat by a keeper.
Photo: Wildwood Escot.

Escot

A wild boar enjoys being given a scratch.
Photo: Wildwood Escot.

The conservation of endangered British wildlife such as the hazel dormouse, beavers and pine martens is ‘at the core’ of Wildwood Escot, which is run by wildlife charity Wildwood Trust.

The Trust breeds animals with the aim of releasing healthy young to boost declining populations in the wild.

A Wildwood Escot spokesperson said: “Sadly, numerous releases and reintroductions to the wild have been postponed due to the impact of Covid-19, putting extra strain on the trust’s facilities and pushing finances to the brink.

“While lockdown continues, these animals could be running out of time.”

The spokesperson added: “Wildwood Escot near Ottery St Mary is home to native British species of animals which need not only food and water, but also need daily enrichment and training as well as health checks and vet care.

“This must take place while many members of staff are furloughed, to keep costs down.”

Escot

‘It’s all gone’ – A Lynx hoping for more treats.
Photo: Wildwood Escot.

Ottery

Keepers checking on dormice.
Photo: Wildwood Escot.

Escot

A dormouse pup is seen here having a health check.
Photo: Wildwood Escot.

The Wildwood Trust educates and informs the public of the importance of British wildlife through educational courses and media work.

Donate to the Wildwood Trust Covid appeal, here.

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