West Hatch Wildlife & Animal Centre
West Hatch has been a base for RSPCA work since a local RSPCA branch bought Little Creech Farmhouse and 20 acres of land in 1963. In addition to the care of domestic animals, wildlife care became a focus for the centre and the site expanded to include a Wildlife Centre.
West Hatch Wildlife Centre is one of only 4 RSPCA Wildlife establishments in the country We are really fortunate to have the facilities to rehabilitate all species of British wild animals. Annual admissions vary, but we can expect an average of 4000 animals a year. Staff at West Hatch has been dedicated to wildlife rehabilitation for many years and have a wealth of knowledge and experience in wildlife care and rehabilitation.
Hand Rearing Deer
Before & After
West Hatch Wildlife Centre has some of the best rehabilitation facilities in the country with more than 120 rooms and enclosures specifically designed for wildlife rehabilitation. Certain seasonal trends in wildlife admissions enable us to adapt the housing at the centre to accommodate the different needs of the animals at different times of year. The pools which we use for ducklings in the spring and summer become a home to orphaned grey and common seals as they fatten up over the winter before they can be released back into the wild. The holding bays in the intensive care unit which contain gull chicks in the spring and summer often contain hedgehogs in the autumn and winter.
Our facilities include indoor and outdoor pools, we have waterfowl paddocks, over 25 large outdoor aviaries, flight assessment aviaries and seclusion and release aviaries.
We have a fully equipped veterinary surgery and a full range of intensive care units which can be individually controlled for specific requirements
Manmade disasters can spectacularly transform the centre into a temporary emergency hospital. We may, with just a few hours notice, admit, triage, house, feed and treat several hundred sea birds which have been contaminated by oil from stricken ships. It’s at times like this when you are most likely to see the inside of the centre on your TV screens. Major oil spills are often remembered by the name of the ship involved, The Torrey Canyon in 1976, The Sea Empress in 1996 and who can forget the images of more recent Napoli at Branscombe in 2007. Whilst there was a certain buzz of excitement as the containers washed ashore with quite a bounty in them, the oiled birds were also being washed ashore – in the worst cases, their fate sealed quite quickly, unlike that of the looters who were gathering anything from motor bikes to nappies from the beach!
At West Hatch, post-release success will be measured using state of the art techniques such as radio tracking, as well as through the use of rings and tags, some of which can be observed in the field.
Hand Rearing Kitten
Washing Oiled birds
The Centre was officially opened in 1963, and was founded by John Hughes. We celebrated our 50th anniversary in July 2013.
The animal centre was demolished for rebuilding in Jan 1997 and the staff continued to work from Private boarding kennels until the centre was officially reopened in March 1998 by Anneka Rice.
In January 2011 we became an Inspectorate only RSPCA Centre. This means we only take in abused, neglected or abandoned animals that Inspectors need to house quickly following a complaint. Most of the animals that come to us need medical treatment and rehabilitation, and if the animals have been seized due to cruelty, they may have to stay for up to a year while we take the owners to court to gain legal ownership.
Since Jan 2011 when we shifted our focus to Inspectorate only, we have taken in 700 dogs, 988 cats, 357 rabbits and 1,126 other farm and small animals. We have rehomed 2,409 animals during this time.
We have facilities for 57 dogs, 72 cats, as well as rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, rodents and some farm animals and have 3 full time supervisors, 7 full time animal care assistants and 6 part time animal care assistants. We also have a vet surgery with 1 vet nurse and a full time vet. All animals are neutered on site before they leave.
We find many of our adopters via our website and facebook page. As each animal becomes available its profile is put onto our website along with its photograph.
How can you help?
During the very busy summer months staff are supported by tireless and committed volunteers.
If you would be interested in volunteering in the Wildlife Centre please email firstname.lastname@example.org formore information. For volunteering opportunities at the Animal Centre please email email@example.com
How to contact us
Telephone: 0300 123 0721
Telephone: 0300 123 0747. Our opening times are Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 12.30pm. 1.30pm – 4pm. Sundays 11am – 1pm. Closed on Mondays.
Facebook page: RSPCA West Hatch Domestic Centre
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
For Emergencies: RSPCA 24 hour cruelty and advice line: 0300 1234 999