International animal welfare charity The Donkey Sanctuary has branched out into wildlife and conservation events, hosting its first ever wildlife ramble this month.
The charity’s headquarters near Sidmouth in Devon are open to the public with free admission and parking 365 days a year, but whilst donkeys remain the star attraction, many visitors are unaware of the wealth of flora and fauna also on offer. Earlier this month, the charity held its first ever wildlife ramble to show visitors what to look out for.
James Chubb, Events and Activities Manager, explains:
“The Donkey Sanctuary is very fortunate to occupy around 400 acres of rolling East Devon hills in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Whilst this provides rich pasture for our resident donkeys, it is also a haven for all kinds of wildlife, and we are looking at ways that one can enrich the other.
“Our first wildlife ramble provided an ideal opportunity for visitors to discover the incredible variety of plant and animal life here at The Donkey Sanctuary. Key spots of the day included woodpeckers, buzzards and some tell-tale signs of a colony of scarce lesser horseshoe bats, not to mention an impressive selection of edible and not so edible vegetation! For me, the star discovery was a glow-worm larvae, very exciting as the species is very sensitive to change, so if we look after their habitat they should be here to stay.
“Over the coming years we are going to explore ways in which we can combine donkey welfare with improving and protecting habitats for wildlife. As a charity we are proud of the fact that our Devon and Dorset farms have been home to the likes of barn owls, otters and water voles, but this marks a new stage in our understanding and appreciation of the wildlife in our care.”
For more information about the work of The Donkey Sanctuary, including its wildlife projects and events, please visit www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk.
For an interview, further information or images, please contact The Donkey Sanctuary press office on 01395 573097/573014, mobile 07970 927778 or via email.
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