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About The Wildwood Trust
The Wildwood Trust opened in 1999 as a centre of excellence for the conservation of British wildlife, and established as a registered charity in 2002. The Wildwood Trust has become known as the South East’s leading specialist in native species conservation. Our British wildlife park in Kent is home to over 300 animals in near natural enclosures set amongst 40 acres of ancient woodland. As a conservation charity we encourage visitors to learn about the importance of our wildlife and woodlands and the efforts being made to protect them.
At Wildwood, our highly skilled conservation team are experts in helping our most threatened native species. Over the past ten years, our projects to conserve British wildlife have gone from strength to strength and we now offer a wide range of conservation services and training.
As a wildlife park and conservation charity, we aim to link as many of our animals as possible to conservation initiatives. Our captive breeding programmes include the water vole, hazel dormouse, European beaver, red squirrel, harvest mouse, water shrew and adder.
Wildwood has been reintroducing water voles in the UK for over ten years. As a leading specialist in water vole captive breeding and reintroduction, we offer a dedicated consultancy service, providing expert guidance to a wide range of organisations including developers and ecological consultancies. With one of the best water vole holding facilities in the UK, we are leaders in water vole husbandry and captive breeding and can accommodate up to 500 voles in our specially designed enclosures with dedicated quarantine facilities.
Hazel dormouse captive breeding programme
As the Hazel Dormouse Studbook Holder and member of the Common Dormouse Captive Breeders Group, Wildwood breeds dormice for reintroduction to woodlands where they have become extinct because of habitat loss and unsympathetic habitat management. Southern England is a stronghold for this species, but it is becoming increasingly rare elsewhere.
We carry out research in partnership with Universities and other conservation organisations in order to benefit dormice in the wild, for example, trials of dormice bridges, studies of their use of their whiskers.
We also offer dormouse handling practice for those training for a Natural England dormouse licence, using our captive dormice through a series of dormouse workshops.
Conservation grazing: konik horse
Wildwood breeds and introduces herds of konik horses into nature reserves across the UK. Koniks are direct descendants from the wild European forest horse, the Tarpan which was hunted to extinction in Britain. They are unique amongst the grazing species as they are adapted to wetland habitats. By acting as conservation grazers they improve wetland habitats and so increase local biodiversity. The horses live a semi wild existence, but each year the herds are rounded up and given a thorough examination to ensure they remain fit and healthy.
Bat rehabilitation and research
Wildwood works in partnership with the Kent Bat Group (KBG) to rehabilitate bats which have been injured or orphaned. Each year over 100 grounded bats are treated by the KBG’s licensed bat carers. Those that need to build up flight skills or stamina are brought to a specially designed flight centre at Wildwood. Hand-reared juveniles are encouraged to improve their echolocation and hunting skills here. Eventually the bats are returned to the wild. Wildwood also run a series of courses in partnership with the Kent Bat Group for those looking to become involved with the conservation or care of bats or to improve their handling skills.
Some of Our Key Conservation Projects…
Red squirrel captive breeding programme
Wildwood Trust successfully breeds red squirrels for reintroduction into sites where grey squirrels have been removed. The young squirrels are transported to the Welsh island of Anglesey where they are soft released to help strengthen the small natural population there to prevent local extinction.
Registered Charity No 1093702
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