Directory Standards

helpwildlife.co.uk provides advice on what to do if you find a sick, injured or abandoned wild bird or animal

We work hard to ensure that the information in our directory is up to date. We have a small number of volunteers but they are active daily in checking the listings to make sure they are correct. We aim to check each live listing at least every six months. To help with this we encourage visitors to leave feedback via the comments section on each listing to let us know whether the rescue details are correct and whether the rescue were able to help them. We also gather feedback from those who contact our helpdesk.

Periodically we are contacted by people who believe a rescue should not be listed in our directory. The reasons range from ‘the person on the phone was rude to me’ to ‘this rescue doesn’t take proper care of their animals’. Our intention in providing a directory of wildlife rescues is simply to link finders of casualties with a wildlife rescue in their area. No listing should be considered an endorsement. As a tiny, volunteer-run organisation there is no way we would be able to vet the rescues we list in our directory nor would we seek to elevate ourselves to the position of some sort of authority on what makes a good or bad rescue (in truth all rescues have their strengths and weaknesses and much of it is totally subjective). If you have genuine concerns about one of the rescues listed, you should contact the relevant authority e.g. the police or RSPCA for animal welfare concerns, or the Charity Commission for concerns about how an organisation is run or their finances administered.

All that said, we obviously don’t want to be directing people towards rescues which are objectively unsuitable. It’s a dilemma we have been wrestling with for some time. So, we have put together some ‘Community Standards’ which you can see below. These are things which we believe are, objectively, standards all rescues should be meeting and we ask that the rescues we list agree to them. If you have evidence that a rescue listed does not conform to these standards, please send it to us. Please note though, we make decisions only based on evidence, not gossip and hearsay.

Our Community Standards

It is our view that all rescue organisations, in addition to complying with the relevant laws on animal welfare and operating a charity should….

1. Operate without prejudice
Rescues should treat all human beings equally and not engage in any racist, homophobic, sexist or otherwise prejudiced behaviour. Whilst they may not have facilities for all species, they should not act in a way that is detrimental to the welfare of any wild bird or animal.

2. Keep casualty records
Records should be kept of the casualties admitted, including finders’ details, where the casualty was found, any treatment the casualty receives, and the outcome for the casualty. This is important to enable casualties to return ‘home’ and in order to learn lessons about treatment protocols.

3. Keep financial records
Regardless of charitable status, anyone taking in donations from the public should keep records of money received and how it is spent, and ensure rescue funds are kept separate from personal money.

4. Seek veterinary advice and assistance
Rescuers often build up a wealth of medical knowledge so it is unlikely that every casualty will need to see a vet. But rescuers do need to have a relationship with a suitable vet and access to medications which are used when needed to ensure casualties have the best chance of survival and highest welfare.

5. Be willing to euthanase when necessary
Exactly when euthanasia is needed will always be a matter of personal opinion but a willingness to end suffering is, sadly, a fundamental part of ensuring the welfare of animals in the care of rescuers.

6. Not end life other than to relieve suffering
Any organisation which ‘culls’ i.e. ends the life of an animal to reduce numbers, will not be included in our directory. Regrettably, there are some species for which UK law mandates that they are killed rather than cared for and released. The fault here lies with the legislation, not the rescue, so rescues adhering to this requirement will not be excluded.

7. Give sound, evidence-based advice
Wildlife rescue is full of grey areas and there will always be disagreements and different interpretations. But the information and advice given to the public should be based on the latest knowledge and understanding, and backed by evidence. Rescuers should always be open to discussion, sharing experience, and expanding their knowledge.

8. Be open and honest
Rescues should operate openly and be willing to share information about their work, how they spend donations, the outcomes for their patients etc, responding positively and professionally to questions and criticisms.

Rescues which are not able to sign up to these standards are invited to register for our ‘Community Heroes’ scheme instead. Contact details for individuals and organisations in this scheme are not listed publicly but may be given out by one of our volunteers if a suitable rescue cannot be located in the main directory.