Express & Star

Owl sanctuary launches desperate fundraising bid to stay open

A Stafford animal rescue centre has launched a desperate fundraising appeal after it was forced to close due to coronavirus.

Jack Smith, a volunteer at the sanctuary, and Thane, a dark breasted barn owl

The Owl Sanctuary at Haughton cares for 54 birds of prey, including owls, and a number of meerkats.

But those animals may need to be rehomed if the sanctuary cannot find the funds to remain operational.

It lost its main source of income through entry fees when the centre was ordered to close following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Andrew Campbell, 48, a former soldier, said some of the animals are like "family members" to him. He runs the centre alongside 12 other volunteers.

He said: "If we don't find the funds, the animals will have to be rehomed in other places. We have got some birds that have been with us for nine, 10 years.

"They are like part of your family. We are trying to raise enough money just to stay afloat."

Sanctuary staff want to raise £2,000 which should keep the centre going until August - when the nationwide lockdown may be lifted.

The sanctuary acquires the birds either as donations, unwanted pets, or they come in injured as cruelty cases. The centre also works alongside the RSPCA.

They care for a variety of birds ranging from owls, to falcons, and buzzards. Most of the residents are birds of prey but the centre care for all types of birds.

They are looked after and rehabilitated before being released back into the wild.

Mr Campbell has run the sanctuary for 12 years but the actual centre itself has been in operation for 10.

He is originally from Scotland and served as a solider in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, rising to the rank of sergeant.

He did tours of Bosnia, Iraq, and finally, Afghanistan, where he got injured and subsequently left the army.

Now he lives in Stafford caring running the sanctuary.

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