By Jasmin (byline attached)
Although Christmas might seem no more than a distant blur, one Horsham-based wildlife are seeing in the new year with even bigger celebrations.
Initially starting as a bookshop in 1984, for the past three decades Care for the Wild International has gone on to tirelessly work hard to rescue, protect and defend animals in need locally and around the globe making 2014 an extra special milestone for them.
“We’re hoping to have a few events to celebrate the 30th as it’s a big year for us,” explained Philip Mansbridge, who has been CEO of the charity when he joined at the end of 2011.
“We’re looking at attending some local events such as ‘Wings and Wheels’, doing rickshaw racing and we’ve even got something called ‘Dare for the Wild’ with opportunities to do parachute jumps.”
It was set up by Dr Bill Jordan and after expanding, the charity moved to the founder’s home in Rusper and then on to the small hamlet of Kingsfold where the charity spent ten years at Tickfold Farm in a converted granary building.
Continuing to gain momentum, the charity then moved to their current home at 72 Brighton Road in Horsham at the beginning of 2012.
They’ve helped numerous projects and charity partners, commissioned research, exposed tourist traps, campaigned and taken direct action including undercover investigations.
Staggering results have included changes to legislation, funding of various new enclosures for rescued wild animals and surgeries and ambulances for British wildlife projects.
“In 30 years I think we’ve had a lot of achievements,” continued Philip, who gained high level experience from within the animal welfare sector at some of the UK’s leading animal charities, including Cats Protection and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.
“I think one of the achievements that lots of people remember is gaining much better protection for the slow loris. They went from something called Appendix 2 to Appendix 1 which means that there can be no international trade at all of slow lories.”
Care for the Wild also have a team in Kenya with their Kenyan director based out of Nairobi.
With everyone’s participation across the world, other achievements include a report on an attraction in Thailand called the ‘Tiger Temple’ during 2008 which they continue to tackle, they have funded, designed and helped build rangers station in Kenya for the Kenya Wildlife Service and built roads for the service into areas where they need to patrol, they undertake anti-poaching patrols, have set up a chimpanzee sanctuary in Kenya for those that were stuck in war-zones in pet markets or set to be used for bush meat and also help in other countries overseas including Cambodia and India working alongside services including the Wildlife Trust of India protecting tigers.
“We have just launched an education programme in Kenya where we look into trying to teach the children about the benefits of wildlife rather than all the negatives which is sometimes what they see,” revealed Philip.
“But also while we’ve been doing the big species, we’ve also been helping the smaller and more local animals. We’ve done hedgehog rescue for many years, squirrels that are sometimes young after perhaps falling from trees, a lot of bird rescues and we try to release them wherever we can.”
But despite their efforts, there is still a lot to be done. In the coming years, main issues the charity want to tackle include British Wildlife problems such as badgers and brown hares as well as overseas issues with rhino and elephant poaching.
“Ivory is a massive issue,” he added. “Every 15 minutes and elephant is killed in Africa right now. That’s 30,000 to 40,000 per year are being poached and with the continued demand in Asia that could get worse before it gets better.”
Philip, who has been a vegan for around two years, but a vegetarian since he was around 14, went on to explain his personal fondess for the charity.
“It means a lot to me and personally I feel very attached to the charity,” he said. “I think it makes us all feel really proud. We’re a small and local charity, there’s not many of us and I think some of the results we’ve had really outweigh the size of the charity and the amount of resources we’ve got.”
If you want to help support the charity, you can enquire to become a volunteer with them or join its many donation schemes including a new one for this 30th anniversary which is called ‘The Wildlife Hero Scheme’.
For more information visit www.careforthewild.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org follow them on Twitter @careforthewild or like them on Facebook.
Pictures by Derek Martin