Ireland’s first and only wildlife hospital is appealing for financial help in an attempt to find a new location.
The Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland (WRI) facility in Co Meath has helped around 2,500 wildlife since it opened in February, but the lease for its current premises is about to expire.
The association has looked at 90 potential sites but has not yet found one.
Aoife McPartlin, the organization’s media and education manager, told Sky News: “We need funding, this is the end result… very serious funding.”
She said the cost of the relocation would be around € 200,000 (£ 170,000). “It’s just to move, before we can even open the door and start operating. It’s absolutely colossal.”
The IRG now wants the Irish government to help bail them out.
Ms McPartlin said: “We are always talking about a biodiversity and climate emergency in our government and that’s it. This is how they can really step in and show that they are very serious about this emergency. “
But a government minister says there is currently no structure in place to provide funds for such a project.
Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan said: “It’s not that simple.
He told Sky News: “We are delighted to continue to partner with WRI, but the broader issue of capital support for a specific project is something for which there is currently no program in place. what we will do as a government is take this type of activity into consideration. “
Without a firm government funding commitment, Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland faces a six-figure deficit as it seeks its new home.
While it has not admitted any new patients since December 10 in anticipation of a move, the association is continuing its action.
Among the patients still treated at the current facility, housed in a converted stable, are several hedgehogs, including one called Milo, a sika deer fawn called Claudia who was seriously injured by a car, and Bloom the otter, who was preparing to be released. .
The WRI has also just released several kestrels into the wild, including one in the neighboring estate of Baron of Dunsany, Randal Plunkett. The bird of prey was once extremely common in Ireland, but has now been placed on a conservation red list.
Lord Dunsany, 38, filmmaker and death metal fan, has pledged to rewild 700 acres of his land and partnered with WRI for the liberation of many animals.
He turned his castle tennis court into an otter hole “because I’m not a tennis guy, I’m more of a UFC guy.”
He also thinks IRG deserves public funding.
“Their work is essential, especially at a time when we are losing so much wilderness and climate change is happening and part of the equation is animal life and biodiversity. We need these things. They are doing a job. terrific, and they’re doing it without funding. “
Time is running out now to find a new home for Ireland’s only wildlife hospital.
The organization is hoping to secure another location in Co Meath, but still do not know how such a move – to secure the future of a “must-have” animal hospital – can be funded.
Anyone in Ireland with an injured animal can always call the WRI helpline on 0818 877766 or go to www.irishwildlifematters.ie.