Local sanctuary seeking survival package

Darren Jenkins of Avon Owls with Tango the owlAn organisation rescuing owls from cruel living conditions across the country is searching for a sponsor to help fund a new sanctuary in Weston-super-Mare.

Avon Owls based in Winscombe, North Somerset, is a family owned non-profit organisation, which re-homes ill-treated birds of prey to safeguard their future.

Founder Darren Jenkins cares for 12 owls but in order to continue his business, which sees the birds used to educate the community, he needs a financial boost.

It costs £200 a month to feed the owls, which vary from five weeks to 20-years in age and any funds Mr Jenkins makes is spent on their welfare along with added vet fees.

Now after outgrowing his garden, Mr Jenkins is making an urgent plea for a local business to come forward and donate to help build a sanctuary between Weston and Winscombe.

In return businesses that sponsor him will be advertised at around 200 Avon Owl events per year with their company logo on flyers and on the Avon Owl trailer, which transports the birds.

Mr Jenkins, 41, a conservationist, said: “I’m passionate about owls and have been since I was a child and now I re-home ill-treated birds of prey and care for them.

“But in order to continue my valuable work, I desperately need sponsors to help me create a new owl sanctuary, the first of its kind in Weston-super-Mare.

“However, without some serious sponsorship this may only be a dream, as I’ve been told by the Prince’s Trust I’m too old to be eligible for a grant and other grants have been declined because of the current economic situation

“If a business pledged £5,000 and we were given a one acre field or funds to buy one, we could have the sanctuary open to the public and save more owls facing cruel upbringings.

“Among our collection is Bob a one-year-old Tawny male whose tail feathers were badly damaged after its previous owner cut them off because they were dirty.

“Instead of washing them with some warm water, she took a pair of scissors to the problem but after we took him into our care and looked after him he has grown a whole new set.

“Our other owls include a 12-year-old Snowy Owl rescued from London after it was left in a aviary for 10-years with little contact apart from feeding and our three-year-old Tropical Screech Owl Chico, which had been kept in a rabbit cage with saw dust.

“This led to a raging eye infection, which we treated but her right eye has been left practically non working and blind.

“We have also recently rescued an Indian eagle owl, who didn’t have enough room to fly, so he has every primary flight feather damaged or missing, so with a lot of TLC he will make a recovery.

“All these birds of prey will live out their days in comfort, cared for daily by me and my family who are all volunteers, none of us are paid.

“But if they could live in a proper sanctuary it would make my dreams come true and we would even add a Portakabin to create a classroom to hold lessons for schools or clubs.

“One of our other goals is to start a Long-eared Owl reintroduction program, as these owls are in a lot of trouble and need a lot of help

“Once our centre is up and running then a lot of time can be put aside to the conservation of these beautiful creatures.

“Please help us to help conserve what owls we have left and to reintroduce more back into the wild and we will recognise you for that.”

For more information visit www.avonowls.co.uk or call Mr Jenkins on 07909160554

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