The Phoenix Pet and Wildlife Sanctuary (formerly PAWS) is staffed by two dedicated
people with over sixty combined years experience in animal care covering most species.
The Sanctuary grew out of our concern over the rising tide of cruelty, and the vanishing
hedgerows and countryside that is destroying the native habitats of our wildlife.
Registered Non-Profit making Organisation, No. 4914413 (Est. 29.09.03)
SANCTUARY NEWS - SUMMER 2016
Summer arrived at last, at least there was some lovely sunny warm dry weather then
back to 'unsettled' with wind and rain interspersed with welcome sunshine, and a
long dry spell meaning we really needed some rain for the ground. The triplets do
not like the rain and head for the stable, except Pixie, who like most pygmy goats,
are akin to hardy little tanks who do not seem to mind most weather.
We had the usual rush of fledgling birds brought in for various reasons, and as is
often the case with the tiny birds, many of them gave up no matter how hard we tried
to keep them going. It was very distressing with one we had hopes for, a baby crow
caught by a cat, but usually it is the shock of whatever trauma brought them to us
that does the damage. Also we had a gorgeous seagull chick brought in, younger than
Scamp was when he arrived. As soon as we saw him we had our doubts. Most likely,
as seagulls tend to nest high up on roofs or ledges, this baby must have fallen
from some height sustaining possible internal damage. At least all of these had
a lot of TLC in their last days.
We have given Scamp his own 'beach'. Finding some coastal pebbles in a garden centre
we got him a couple of bags and spread them next to his huge water tray. He is thoroughly
enjoying them, picking some up and plopping them into his water, placing them in
other sites. Along with his toys, which he does play with, it gives him endless
opportunities for occupation.
The first swallows raised five chicks in the stables. A couple of them have fallen
off into the hay rack, so a soft landing, and Paul had to get a ladder and return
them to the nest. Eventually they became more sure footed and once a lovely sight
with one of the parent birds sitting among the brood who were lined up in either
side of her. Now a second pair have nested and have chicks.
Very sad to say the last koi has now died two days after the pump stopped working
altogether. So RIP little fish, I hope you are all back with Dougie now, happy and
peaceful again. I was shocked to find out that apparently fish do not have rights
and people cannot be prosecuted for abusing or neglecting them! All that can be done
is to put a 'flag' on those who are seen to abuse/neglect meaning they are watched.
I suppose this is because all the fishermen in the country would be up in arms if
liable, but surely there could be a distinction made for pet and ornamental fish?
It cannot be right that any creature, and I guess those like insects kept as pets
are also considered so inconsequential, should be so disregarded as unimportant.
After all, livestock is protected and helped if abused and neglected so why not
all creatures? It was very frustrating being unable to help those poor fish apart
from taking photos but at least it was cathartic writing about it. And who knows,
maybe Dougie may do a little judicious haunting!
We have taken in more pigeons, Plum, who was attacked by jackdaws losing an eye,
will have to stay as he would be very vulnerable to predation. Acorn and Cob-nut
are town type pigeons, both with one damaged wing. They look so alike they could
be twins so had to go in together, and are getting on really well. They are very
calm, unlike wood pigeons who can be a bit skittish and some do not always do well
in captivity although the ones with badly damaged wings seem to understand they would
not survive in the wild. We have had a couple of happy events, two of our female
pigeons have laid eggs! Moonlight and Cherry. Sadly none of them hatched but it
means those two have paired up with their companions, Walter and Pine. Pigeons mate
for life so it would be cruel to part them and as one of each pairing is disabled,
they will stay with us. It was certainly a surprise and the first time out of dozens
of pigeons we have taken in that any have laid eggs.
Jaffa continues to do well, has an appetite to match a dinosaur and is growing fast.
He is very responsive and seems to know his name, plus he looks at us with interest
when we talk to him. Shows again that all creatures are far more aware than given
credit for. Interesting to see a programme on the gorilla that talks to humans,
and to see it was sign language that was used. I have often experimented with sign
language with some of our animals and found them to appear to understand that as
well as respond to words.
Paul has been working on the paddock, pulling up nettles and piling them up for the
goats, who love wilted nettles. Digging buttercups that seem especially prevalent
this year, along with dock and other wild plants that are not so good for goats.
He has made some discoveries, the odd frog or toad that suddenly appears, and even
a lovely slow-worm who may have been gravid. All creatures are welcome in our sanctuary
and it is wonderful they choose to visit. I just hope they avoid the sometimes careless
I would like to say if you need help with an animal/bird and leave us contact details
to get back to you, please make sure you leave clear telephone details or other contacts.
Recently we had a couple of examples where we could have helped but a lady left
a telephone number missing the last two digits so it was unrecognised. Also we had
an e-mail from a mobile phone but our computer could not access the contact details
given, so sadly there was nothing we could do.
We had a strange visitor to the paddock recently, one of next door's peacocks. He
had a good look round and a wander before flying back over the fence. Maybe he thought
the grass was greener on our side!
Finally some very good news, we have two adorable new permanent residents. As we
lost three goats last year, I wrote to a couple of local breeders to say we now had
room for a couple of male kids. Most male kids are destroyed after weaning as only
one good stud billy is required. This is a shame as castrated billy’s make such wonderful
affectionate gentle pets in the right situation. One lovely lady called us and so
we now have two wonderful twin Guernsey kids we have named Basil and Barnaby (see
photos). I am waiting for a date for an operation and have to say spending time
with these kids is a sheer joy during a difficult and painful time.
And another first for the sanctuary, our first baby squirrel. Nutmeg was found lying
beside a path used by people and dogs, sleepy and not showing any fear. Not sure
what happened to her, maybe she fell from the dray but no sign of any injury. She
is about four and a half weeks old so not weaned meaning we are hand rearing her.
Could well be she may become very tame therefore but as it is illegal to release
grey squirrels she will have to stay with us anyway. Baby squirrels are challenging
as they need feeding every four or five hours, and active. They must not have any
form of milk, which is bad for them, and puppy formula is recommended, we got that
from our vet and Nutmeg is feeding well. Incredibly sweet she clings to us, needs
to be kept warm so we found a pouch for her to sleep in, and as they normally cuddle
up to litter mates, we found her a small cuddly toy as a substitute. She is doing
well and we hope to succeed in raising her although when adult, she will need a specially
built costly unit to house her!
Our thanks as always to all our supporters and fund-raisers, we would not be here
without your efforts. Special thanks to a little girl in Bristol who holds events
to raise money for us each year for the last three, first year a sponsored walk,
next a sponsored clarinet play, and this year a dog show. So a big thank you to
Fiji and her friends.
More news soon from the sanctuary. Enjoy the photos. Please keep feeding and watering