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Sir Terry Pratchett appeals to save our wildlife at Somerset launch

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: February 01, 2012

  • Sir Terry Pratchett and Pauline Kidner with a hedgehog

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Author Sir Terry Pratchett warned that Britain’s wildlife was in serious decline yesterday as he launched an appeal to fund a new multi-million pound animal hospital.

The fantasy writer, 63, spoke out in an effort to inspire nature-lovers to look after endangered creatures such as the hedgehog and the sparrow.

He passionately backed a campaign to build a new £4.4million wildlife teaching hospital – which would include an education centre to train young vets.

The bearded Discworld author launched the appeal at Secret World Wildlife Rescue Centre, in East Huntspill, Somerset – the site of the proposed hospital.

He has been joined by television nature experts Mike Dilger, Simon King, Steve Backshall, Chris Packam and Michaela Strachan in backing the “Call of the Wild Appeal”.

Sir Terry said: “Orphaned by traffic, hurt by our pollution and rubbish and forced out of their natural habitats by our developments, Britain’s wildlife is in serious decline.

“So much so that even the sparrow and the much-loved hedgehog are endangered.

“Fifty years ago there were 30 million hedgehogs in Britain but now there is only an estimated 1.1 million – so if we carry on at this rate they could be extinct in ten years.

“Yet when humans decide to act they succeed in reversing the trend. I urge everyone to play their part.”

The new teaching hospital will include an operating theatre, examination, preparation and X-ray rooms – with a first-floor laboratory, lecture theatre and library.

It will give Secret World, Britain’s only 24-hour animal rescue centre, the facilities to provide all veterinary care on one site and bring faster relief to suffering wildlife.

An IT hook-up will even allow up to 120 resident students a year to watch procedures being performed by the hospital’s in-house vet in an operating theatre.

The education centre will also include a lecture theatre and meeting room.

Sir Terry, who is suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s, previously offered a £10,000 reward to catch a swan killer who massacred 30 of the birds in Somerset last year.

Pauline Kidner, Secret World founder, said Britain’s wildlife had been hard hit by the speed of development in rural areas.

She said: “We will receive around 5,000 injured or orphaned animals and birds over the coming year, yet when wildlife needs people’s support most – the nation is increasingly losing touch with nature.

“While vets receive virtually no wildlife training, children now spend half the time outdoors that they did 40 years ago and many cannot even identify an oak tree.

“The launching of our new hospital and education centre project is a positive move to redress the balance and we are appealing for everyone in the region to give us their support so that we can open in 2013.”

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  • A_Newt  |  February 05 2012, 10:56AM

    Education is vital, as long as it is accurate and not total fantasy. Badgers are the only animals capable of opening a closed hedgehog to eat or of finding new born rabbit kttens in a nest ubderground and digging them out and sadly they do eat a lot of ground nestiing birds. This is not a problem in areas where the badger population is in balance. Unfortunately, badger numbers have exceeded this point in many areas now.

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  • Charlespk  |  February 02 2012, 3:10PM

    It can't be a very pleasant death, being first skinned then eaten alive by a badger. But of course like farmers' cattle; they don't think they matter.

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  • Taki123  |  February 02 2012, 2:55AM

    I'd rather spend money taking care of our wildlife than asylum seekers. Billions a year towards wildlife care would make a big difference. The government has the wrong priorities. England for the English.

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  • Charlespk  |  February 01 2012, 10:16PM

    So are you calling Arthur Duckett a liar now? I would imagine he must have told the the entire farming community of the South West. He worked right up until he died travelling up to 40,000 miles a year. . He cared about animals. . ALL ANIMALS. . Not just the ones that gave him a high profile to get money from the naive for a his living.

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  • gowhistle  |  February 01 2012, 10:01PM

    is that it? Arthur Duckett told you. Priceless.

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  • Charlespk  |  February 01 2012, 8:47PM

    Should read, "What I stated is Common Knowledge in Highbridge."

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  • Charlespk  |  February 01 2012, 8:45PM

    @gowhistle You are completely wrong and very foolish. It's all about Wildlife welfare. You obviously think that all the good work they do with injured wildlife, makes up for the several hundred thousand cattle that have been slaughtered because they came in contact with the M.bovis bacteria and all the ground nesting birds and hedgehogs. Well I CERTAINLY don't. What I Is Common Knowledge in Highbridge. This gentleman would have told you, but very unfortunately he died. http://tinyurl.com/7llz9o8

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  • gowhistle  |  February 01 2012, 7:10PM

    And where's your evidence relating to your accusations in relation to Pauline Kidner and Secret World? Isn't that what this article is about? Perhaps I'm wrong about the political point scoring, oh wait a minute - no I'm not. GoWhistle

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  • Charlespk  |  February 01 2012, 6:22PM

    @gowhistle You obviously don't know what you are talking about. Why don't you ring up and ask and see if they deny it?

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  • Charlespk  |  February 01 2012, 6:11PM

    THE TRUTH ABOUT THE KREBS 'SCIENCE' Memorandum submitted by P Caruana (BTB 33) House of Commons - Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - Written Evidence Page 1 of 3 14/02/2010

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