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Coronavirus: Fresh appeal to save Staffordshire wildlife centre previously hit by fire

By Jordan Reynolds | Eccleshall | Attractions | Published:

A Staffordshire wildlife centre devastated by a fire last year has launched an appeal to raise £10,000 to ensure its survival through the coronavirus pandemic.

Reggie raccoon lives at Gentleshaw with his four pals. All pets whose owners either could no longer care for them or could not cope with them

Members of the public helped raised more than £20,000 for Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre after the Eccleshall-based centre was hit by a fire in March 2019 which killed three giant tortoises, a meerkat and around 15 fruit bats.

Enclosures were rebuilt in the months after, and enough was raised for further improvements.

But now workers have said the centre may not be able to reopen at all without help.

The aftermath of the fire at Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre in Stone Road in March 2019

An appeal has been launched in recent days with a target of £10,000 and has already raised more than £1,400.

On the fundraising page it says: "For the second time in 27 years, Gentleshaw finds itself in desperate need of your support.

"Following the devastating fire of 2019, with your help, we dusted ourselves off and carried on. Funds raised were helping to replace the enclosures lost, along with further improvements to our animal's homes.

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Bruce the Argus monitor lizard was found climbing up a woman's house a few years ago. He is pictured having a snooze while workers try and get the reptile area renovated

"After battling though a wet winter, we were ready to welcome visitors to boost the coffers and keep the sanctuary going through our rebuild.

"However, we find ourselves, along with so many others, about to hit our busy season, a time to line the nest for next winter, and due to the coronavirus, unable to open to visitors, carry out fundraisers or attend events.

"Our rainy day pot is going to be depleted, the money we raised to re-build will have to be redirected to keeping the sanctuary going though this time. Money may not be coming in, but bills will continue to need paying.

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Siren is a cockatoo who spent 15 years living in a tiny cage. He cannot fly but loves to chatter, so the workers have installed a radio for him as he misses talking to the visitors

"We know this is a terrible time for all of us, and that fundraisers are popping up anywhere, but if you find yourselves with a few pounds spare, our little sanctuary would greatly appreciate your help.

"We don't know how long this will go on for, but we do know that without support, we may not reopen at all.

"More information about Gentleshaw Bird Of Prey Wildlife Hospital: Rehabilitation of wild, injured birds of prey. Sanctuary for rescued, re-homed or mistreated captive bred exotic animals including birds of prey, reptiles, primates, emus, raccoons.

Three skunks have been the centre's first rescues since the pandemic. Their owner could not afford to feed them

"Thank you for anything you can give, look after each other."

To read more, or donate, visit gofundme.com/f/sanctuary-survival

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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