Sanctuary looking for financial survival package from businesses
An owl rescue organisation in North Somerset says it will be forced to turn away injured and ill-treated birds of prey unless it receives urgent help from the community.
Avon owls, a family-owned, non-profit rescue centre is reaching maximum capacity with 13 owls at its current base in Winscombe.
Founder Darren Jenkins has housed all the birds of prey in purpose built aviaries in his garden to get them back to health after they were mistreated in their past.
One Tawny had its tail feathers cut off by its owner rather than clean them and a Tropical Screech Owl was left blind in one eye after it was kept in a rabbit cage with saw dust.
With the help of Avon Owls all the birds are now fighting fit but their upkeep comes at a cost and the organisation is now stretched to the limit with increasing food and vet bills.
Mr Jenkins, 41, has previously made an urgent appeal for a business sponsor to come forward and assist with the costs and for a landowner to offer a field to set up a sanctuary.
However, he says he was left bitterly “disappointed” after receiving no serious offers of help from the North Somerset community.
Now with costs spiralling Avon Owls says it will be forced to turn away any further rescue owls unless it is given a financial boost or somewhere to set up a base.
Mr Jenkins, a conservationist, said: “Avon Owls is growing, we are almost at maximum capacity and without a field or area to use, we will have to refuse any further owls.
“Following our last appeal, we had no responses from anyone in the Weston area, which was very disappointing.
“The Owls are in my garden, which I cannot open to the public as the red tape is out of this world, so instead we need to find a new base on a long term loan.
“I am not looking for a huge field, or miles of land, all I need is a piece of land about the size of a football pitch with road access, where I can build an owl sanctuary.
“This in turn will then be opened to the public with the consent of North Somerset Council and once funds are being generated, then we might be able to pay rent to the landowner.
“It would be the first dedicated owl sanctuary within about 60-70 miles of Weston-super-Mare.
“I have several volunteers with many different skills ready to build the sanctuary and I am turning new volunteers away at present because I don’t have work for them to do.”
Avon Owls did gain a positive reaction from Cadbury Garden & Leisure Centre in Congresbury, Cheddar Garden Centre and Sanders GardenWorld in Brent Knoll following the last appeal.
Each centre is allowing the owls to attend the centres over the coming months in order to showcase the birds of prey and undertake collections.
Mr Jenkins added: “The support we have had from Cadbury, Cheddar Garden centre and Sanders Garden World has been fantastic but we still need to focus on setting up a permanent base.
“Our popularity is growing and we wish to continue our rescue efforts in the future to safeguard the future of these wonderful creatures.”
For more information visit www.avonowls.co.uk or call Mr Jenkins on 07909160554