THE owner of a wildlife sanctuary in Wirral that has been hit hard by the pandemic has made a desperate plea for the help of Globe readers to avoid closure.
The Whitegate Wildlife Sanctuary in Hoylake is home to around 150 creatures, many of which were rescued from the meat or dairy industry.
Laura Whelan started taking animals from a four-acre farm in Brimstage almost three years ago and was funding the costs for them through her dog daycare business.
Whitegate Wildlife Sanctuary
But when she lost most of her income “overnight” to the pandemic, Laura was forced to move to cheaper premises in Hoylake in December.
The devoted animal lover says that despite the move – funded by a large personal loan she took out – the growing costs of the sanctuary are proving unaffordable.
Rent and food are around Â£ 1,500 a month, and there are often unexpected vet bills, like the Â£ 450 that Laura recently had to pay.
She also needs around Â£ 7,000 for a new fence.
The 39-year-old said: ‘I was funding the sanctuary myself until Covid struck and I lost three-quarters of my income overnight.
âI am so passionate about animals. They are a family. Many have come to me and have grown up from little babies.
âI bottle-fed them in my living room.
Baby Elliot Cow at Whitegate Animal Sanctuary
âIt was amazing seeing them for the first time on the grass and seeing them meet the other animals.
âSaved from the horrors of the slaughterhouse, all live fearless lives and are now treated with respect and love.
“I would hate to have to relocate them.”
Laura saved eight pigs, seven goats, six sheep, two calves and a hundred chickens, ducks and turkeys.
Baby cows Elliot and Ember, now only three months old, were taken away when they were seven days old to avoid being shot in the head on a southern dairy farm.
Dairy farms depend on female cows to produce milk, so when male calves are born they are surplus to what is needed. Many chickens are ex-battery and the roosters have been abandoned.
Baby Ember Cow at Whitegate Animal Sanctuary
In recent months, Laura, a mother of two – who found herself working up to 14 hours a day – has called in volunteers to help her with the day-to-day management of the shrine.
She said: âThe community has really come together and we have a great team of volunteers without whom I couldn’t do this,â she said.
If you would like to donate to the shrine, you can do so at paypal.me/whitegate763 or by bank transfer to Laura Whelan, sort code 09-01-29 and account number 31342715.