Living proof wildlife survives in captivity

SIR, — I read with great interest your report ('Herald, February 26) regarding the RSPCA and the deer in the river incident.

The attitude of the RSPCA never ceases to amaze me, whether it is dealing with wildlife or domestic animals. Its stance on euthanasing wildlife without considering rehabilitation and release is very wrong and places such as St Tiggywinkles and The Sanctuary, among many, prove that wildlife does survive in captivity and can be released.

It is very interesting to note, however, that when the RSPCA is being filmed for TV it is very clearly seen to be rescuing wildlife and transporting them to vets and wildlife centres for treatment and possible release, so it does beg the question 'is this its stance only when there are film crews present' as a PR venture to encourage people to donate to its cause, because it is being seen as compassionate animal rescuers?

It is my understanding that in this instance the Inspector arrived announcing that he had come to destroy the deer before he'd even examined it for any injuries to warrant such an action.

I was appalled that he made no attempt to assist in the rescue and refused to transport the deer to the Sanctuary — a mere six miles away, leaving Allan and Kim to take the deer in the boot of their car.

If wildlife doesn't survive in captivity and can't be released, then what has Les Stocker been doing at St Tiggywinkles for the last 25 years and Allan and Kim at The Sanctuary for the last 18, to name but a few? Oh yes, caring, curing, rehabilitating and releasing wildlife — and if they can't be released giving them a good permanent home. How can the RSPCA argue against facts like that?

Readers might remember that the 'Herald' featured an article on myself in August 2007, regarding two tiny red squirrels which I was hand rearing. I wonder if they had come into RSPCA hands would they too have been euthanased because they are wildlife and would be too stressed to survive?

Well I would just like to update you that they survived very well indeed. They stayed at my home for five months and in December were moved to a pen in a red squirrel area to over-winter for a soft release in the Spring. They were then released in April of last year and are still being seen every day visiting the gardens where they lived over the Winter. A perfect example of wildlife surviving in captivity and being released successfully.

EILEEN WELSH

Cramlington