Walk on the wild side for pupils

CHurch High pupils Eve Cuthbert, Amanpreet Kaur and Jimena de la Fuente with an owl from The Wildlife Sacnctuary.
CHurch High pupils Eve Cuthbert, Amanpreet Kaur and Jimena de la Fuente with an owl from The Wildlife Sacnctuary.

A BUSY wildlife centre took time out to showcase its rescue work to North East youngsters.

The Sanctuary Wildlife Care Centre in Ulgham delighted pupils at Newcastle Church High School as it introduced them to some spiky, slippery and feathered friends.

The girls met a number of animals, including hedgehogs, owls, snakes and a tarantula, and learnt about the Sanctuary’s work rescuing abandoned and injured animals to help them return to the wild.

Pupils donated hundreds of tins of pet food to the centre and each year group was given the chance to ‘adopt’ an animal in return for a photograph and certificate. Nursery and Reception classes have already chosen to adopt Meatball the hedgehog.

Children were also given a pass to enjoy a free visit to the facility and see its other residents. The Sanctuary owner Kim Olson said: “We take a hands-on approach when introducing young people to the animals we care for and it’s heartening to see children experiencing for the first time contact with unusual animals, such as snakes and owls.

“In total The Sanctuary Wildlife Care Centre currently houses around 170 rescued animals, including 30 unwanted pet owls, and we have been running now for 19 years.

“It is so important that we teach children about endangered species and caring for pets and wildlife, and the response we get from schools, such as Church High, is overwhelmingly positive.”

The event was funded through the school’s Rag Bag recycling scheme where pupils hand in unwanted clothes and accessories for recycling.

Year 6 teacher Jane Wrighton said: “It was great to welcome The Sanctuary Wildlife Care Centre to Church High. The girls were incredibly excited that they had the opportunity to meet animals such as a barn owl and hedgehog and the visit really opened their eyes to the unusual species that can be found on their doorsteps.”