2020 was a year that was anything but ordinary as we’ve all had to adapt to the ‘new normal!’ Throughout life in lockdown, everyone has been doing what they can to keep their spirits up, and a pleasant side-effect of this was the widespread use and appreciation of our neighbouring wild spaces through walks, hikes, bike rides and other outdoor activities.
With so many people newly exploring their local beaches and coastlines, SRI noted a sharp incline in the numbers of sick and injured seals getting reported. As higher than usual numbers of people were taking to their nearby wild spaces, there were more opportunities for humans to encounter wild animals and the need for wildlife rescues across Ireland rose dramatically! In fact, we received a record number of reports in 2020 totalling 170 intakes, which was up 45% compared to 2019 (with 117 rescues)! As lockdown has continued well into 2021, we expect these numbers to continue to grow.
Although SRI is dedicated exclusively to seals, a rise in wildlife reports spans across all species, including birds and terrestrial animals. Enter our counterparts at Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland (WRI), a like-minded charity that was originally established to form a network of support between various wildlife organisations. In response to the increased demand for wildlife rehabilitation services, they rose to the occasion by creating an interim Emergency Wildlife Hospital situated at Garlow Cross in Co. Meath, by converting an old pub into their rehabilitation hospital! With Spring fast-approaching and baby animal season nearly upon us, WRI needs all the support they can get to develop and maintain this new hospital. The team at SRI wants to help them get established so they’re able to respond to as many animals in need as possible, and that’s why we’re raising funds for WRI by donating 50% of all funds from the adoptions of one of our grey seal pups, Freia.
Freia is the perfect example of why Ireland needs its wildlife charities to be well supported. She was found on a beach amongst plastic litter and was heavily entangled in a monofilament fishing line around her neck and flippers. Monofilament, which had been lost or discarded through human activities, is notorious for cutting through the skin like a blade and Freia’s injuries would have become life-threatening without intervention. Like Freia, a huge percentage of animals are put into danger and in need of rescue due to human activities, therefore we take it as our responsibility to make up for that by giving them a second chance at life in the wild.
Thankfully Freia was found and reported to SRI by a caring member of the public before her condition got worse. She was transported to the hospital in Courtown, Co Wexford where the fishing line was carefully removed and wound care could begin. We rely heavily on a vast network of trained volunteers to lift and transport seals for us, so we understand the value of developing a community. WRI’s aims to promote communication amongst rescue and rehabilitation facilities, and engage members of the public in helping and protecting wildlife, is perfectly in line with ours.
Freia’s wounds are now healing well and she is progressing well through her recovery. If you adopt her today, you will receive a certificate of adoption, as well access to exclusive updates with photos and video content to see her progress at every step of her journey right up to the big day; her release! With every adoption of this courageous pup, you are both helping SRI care for her, as well as supporting WRI become established to care for other wildlife in need.
Freia’s story highlights the importance of Irish wildlife charities as many of our beautiful animals are sick, injured, and suffering. Without our help, many may disappear from our wilderness for good. It is important that we all band together towards the common goal of protecting and promoting our natural habitats and wild species, both on land and at sea.
In these difficult times, we are showing our solidarity within the charity sector. By launching this campaign, we are hoping to work towards our common goal of aiding and protecting wildlife. We aim to join our voices in raising public awareness of issues facing wildlife and connecting others to this cause.
Additionally, both SRI and WRI are members of the newly established Partnership Against Wildlife Crime (PAW Ireland) which is soon launching a Wildlife Crime Reporting App! We will be working closely with them in the coming months and years to raise awareness on the subject of wildlife crime, trying to help develop the best way forward in preventing these instances from occurring.
The nature we have left needs all the help we can give, and your support can help make it happen! Adopt Freia today to support both SRI and WRI’s important work!