Centre for exotic animals needs support to become a reality

Tewkesbury Admag: Rob James feeding Akeela the baby genet Rob James feeding Akeela the baby genet

AN organisation caring for exotic animals is looking for support to create a new welfare, visitor and education centre.

Wildside Furry Exotics is based in Ombersley, near Worcester, and specialises in the care and rehabilitation of non-native exotic pet species and the education of the general public on exotic animals' natural habits and habitats.

They currently offer an outreach program for schools, colleges, special needs facilities and corporate or fund raising events via off-site visits and mobile displays but they hope to build a new permanent centre to transform their work.

The not-for-profit organisation, owned by Lynda and Andy Blake, is using Crowdfunder.co.uk to attract backers and has a fund-raising target of £4,000.

Creative director Andy Calvert said the project was being driven by animal welfare as the current outreach programme was “great for people themselves but not so great for the animals.”

He added: “It is all about the care of the animals and instilling that message in people.”

Mr Calvert said the £4,000 figure would cover the cost of the groundwork and constructing the framework of the animal enclosures.

He is hopeful of receiving a grant from the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership along with match-funding from another source.

“We are coming from a point of having nothing, we’re not looking to make millions. We want too do it for the people and we want people to get involved and help out.

“They are going to have their say on it.”

Wildside has applied to Wychavon District Council for planning permission to change of use part horticultural/agricultural to exotic animal welfare, education and visiting centre to be accessed via the A4133 Droitwich to Holt Fleet Road.

The plans would transform unused ground at the existing Farm Emporium with a mixture of structures, including fully enclosed pens and glazed open enclosures.

Large animal enclosures would be created with their own powered overnight shelters and a varied range of enrichment, both natural and man-made.

There would also be open paddock areas for animals such as pigs, goats and horses, an isolation and treatment centre catering for sick and pregnant animals with food storage and preparation area along with a heated nocturnal and reptile house, and an information centre and shop.

For more information, go to facebook.com/wildsidecentre or crowdfunder.co.uk/wildsidecentre/

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