In 2005 HelpWildlife.co.uk founder, Sarah, gathered together a list of the UK wildlife rescues of which she was aware to help her to assist people posting on online forums about sick and injured wildlife.
Gradually the site expanded – although there were other sites which listed animal rescues, they relied entirely on submissions, listed all rescues (not just wildlife specific ones), and they weren’t kept up to date. When a member of the public finds a wildlife casualty, it is essential they find details of a rescue who can help without delay so we wanted to do something different.
We only list rescues which can help with wildlife and we proactively look for new rescues to add. We check every listing at least every six months to make sure the contact information remains up to date although, in practice, between rescues being able to edit their own listings, feedback left by visitors, and the feedback we get via our helpdesk, we generally know pretty quickly if a rescue changes their contact information, closes down, or even if they’re full. This, we think, makes our directory unique and the most reliable and up to date list of wildlife rescues available.
Our aim is to list every rescue helping wildlife in the UK. However, we found that, as the site became well known and started to be recommended by wildlife rescues, the RSPCA and the RSPB, some smaller rescues found the number of calls generated by a listing on the site was too much to handle. So, in 2019, we introduced a three tier system to the directory, so the bulk of the contacts were directed at the larger rescues and smaller rescues could reduce their visibility.
So that single page list is now a searchable directory of over 600 wildlife rescue organisations and independent rescuers across the UK which is visited by around a quarter of a million people a year!