North Somerset wildlife charity expands treatment and teaching facility

Architect's impression of new build at Secret World Wildlife Rescue

Architect's impression of new build at Secret World Wildlife Rescue - Credit:  Pauline Kidner

A wildlife rescue charity in North Somerset is hopeful about its future - despite having to close due lockdowns - with the phased introduction of a new treatment centre and teaching facility.

Secret World Wildlife Rescue Centre, in East Huntspill, is building a state-of-the-art treatment centre which will not only allow them to help thousands of injured animals which are brought through its doors each year, but also be a venue where  can hold wildlife treatment classes.

Phase one of a two-part build plan has already started. 

Pauline Kidner, is the founder and advisor for Secret World Wildlife Rescue, in New Road, said: "Phase two is planned for later although if we can raise enough money by the time the base is done it would be cheaper to do both at the same time.

"It means that we will have a dedicated building not only caring for animals but will allow teaching of student and vets within the facilities."

Injured baby deer Twin female Roe Deer fawns just a few hours old

Injured baby deer Twin female Roe Deer fawns just a few hours old are rescued from a heath fire in the Mendip Hills. the twins ran into the fire before the fire fighters rescued them. - Credit: Richard Austin

Staff help more than 5,000 wildlife casualties at the rescue centre and the charity has gained national recognition for its hard work and dedication.

The organisation relies on donations to cover running costs and to continue offering care and saving the lives of the injured and sick wildlife. 

Pauline Kidner, of Secret World Wildlife Rescue in van with swans

Pauline Kidner, of Secret World Wildlife Rescue in van with swans - Credit: Secret World Wildlife Rescue

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Pauline has been caring for wildlife since 1993, and is an author of four books about her life, also the Founder of Wildlife and Badger Care, a volunteer group which mans phone lines every night to give advice and rescue animals in distress in the South West.  

Badger cub in towel at Secret World Wildlife Rescue

Baby badger Aquarius , rescued from a dog. 24-03-10. - Credit: The Weston Mercury

When Pauline’s first badger cubs arrived, she wanted to be responsible for their rehabilitation. 

She spoke with Government scientists, and in 1993 was the first person to start testing badger cubs. She was also responsible for the 2001 Badger Rehabilitation Protocol, which is accepted by DEFRA and often quoted in Parliament. 

Pauline said: "My first badger cubs arrived in 1989 and because we were dairy farmers, I wanted to make sure that we were being sensible in our rehabilitation.

"I contacted government vets and found out that there was an Elisa test that I could use and with a great deal of help given by those scientist we were able to create the protocol.

"This protocol is still the same - although updated, and it is the protocol that will be quoted when discussing rehabilitation of badgers in parliament. We give advice to other European countries such as Spain, Holland and France as very little is known about rearing and releasing cubs in these countries."

Badger in incubator on drip at Secret World Wildlife Rescue

Badger in incubator on drip at Secret World Wildlife Rescue - Credit: Pauline Kidner

Pauline is also passionate about inspiring people to care about wildlife through educating children and adults and showing them the work they carry out at the rescue centre. 

Pauline said: “Every animal is important to us; I hope that Secret World will remain a centre of safety for wildlife and a place to inspire all ages.

"We need to understand how important it is to protect our wildlife in order to ensure that there will be a countryside for future generations to enjoy.” 

The centre holds four wildlife courses that anyone with an interest in wildlife can attend, including those involved with rehabilitation.  

Course in Bluebell Barn at Secret World Wildlife Rescue

Course in Bluebell Barn at Secret World Wildlife Rescue - Credit: Pauline Kidner

Pauline added: “There is also a course for vets and veterinary nurses as neither will receive any information on wildlife during their training.

"I believe that wildlife should be given the best care with the aim of returning them to the wild - which includes fluid therapy, pain relief and antibiotics.” 

Pauline’s introduction to working with animals was on leaving school and becoming a dairymaid, working with a Jersey and Guernsey herd. 

She then went in to hotel and catering as management of hotels, pub restaurants and finally a holiday camp.  

It was after her marriage to Derek Kidner that the couple ran a dairy herd together, and the farm eventually became an open farm – known as the Secret World.  

Kingfisher assessment at Secret World Wildlife Rescue

Kingfisher assessment at Secret World Wildlife Rescue - Credit: Pauline Kidner

During this time, Pauline began to develop a real interest in wild animals, when people started bringing orphaned and injured wildlife in to her.  

otter cub at Secret World Wildlife Rescue

otter cub at Secret World Wildlife Rescue - Credit: Pauline Kidner

Her house has been a home to badger cubs, fox cubs, otter cubs, fawns, leverets and a wallaby. 

And it was only a matter of time before her work gained the interest of the media, and she often appears on television. 

Pauline said: “Mr Woo, an albino wallaby became very famous in his own right and lived in a rucksack hanging on the kitchen door when he first arrived.

"Rearing wildlife babies in my kitchen caused media interest and I had film crews coming to see the work I was doing, there was even a series on HTV called Secret World.” 

Pauline added: “Although they are not always in the forefront, I have been supported throughout by my husband Derek and our son, Simon - who ran the charity for 16 years. 

"All the work caring for wildlife has only been made possible with the help of dedicated staff and volunteers.” 

Katie Gibbs, animal carer at Secret World Wildlife Rescue, with Heron

Katie Gibbs, animal carer at Secret World Wildlife Rescue, with Heron - Credit: Pauline Kidner


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