Nuneaton based Air Cadets had some surprise guests, walk, fly and slither into their headquarters as they came Face to Face with an array of Wildlife creatures.
Thankfully the unusual visitors didn't come alone and were escorted by staff from the local branch of Sainsbury's and Geoff Grewcock of the Nuneaton & Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary who had brought some of his animal friends along to meet the cadets.
The visit came as a big thank you to the Cadets who had conducted a Christmas Bag Pack in the Nuneaton Sainsbury's store which, thanks to the generosity of their customers netted £386.22 towards the stores nominated charity the Nuneaton & Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary.
One by one Geoff introduced the cadets and the girls from Sainsbury's to an array of different animals including a Hedge Hog, Barn Owl, Eagle Owl and even Marmite the snake. All the cadets took it in turns to touch and stroke the different creatures but many passed on the opportunity to get too near to Marmite the Red tailed Boa Constrictor.
Every animal had its own story of how it came to be rescued by Geoff and his colleagues at the Nuneaton & Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary. One of the most surprising was that of Marmite. Geoff explained how Marmite the Red tailed Boa Constrictor had been dumped in Nuneaton 's Pingles Park which is only a few yards away from the Cadet headquarters on the Ribbonfields. He was found in a card board box and the police called the Wildlife Sanctuary out to come and collect him. Geoff said, “He was in a very poor condition, we believe he wasn't given the right temperature or even fed correctly. It took quite a few trips to the vets for vitamin injections and a lot of TLC to get Marmite back to looking healthy. Due to the bad start in his life his health is still not perfect but he is very happy with us now”. Geoff also explained why this very friendly snake who loves nothing better than giving people big hugs got his name, “his name is Marmite, you either love him or you hate him”.
Geoff Grewcock opened the Nuneaton & Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary in 2001. The sanctuary was originally dedicated to caring for sick and injured wildlife taking any wild bird or animal with any injury and getting them better with the aim of releasing them back into the wild where they belong. The sanctuary has now expanded its activities and opened its doors to small domestic animals as well. So they now provide a safe haven for dumped, unwanted and miss-treated pets.
Geoff said, “The Sanctuary is now home to a remarkable menagerie of animals, including birds of prey, swans, seagulls and reptiles, most of which about 75% will be released back into the wild once they have recovered. But some have become too tame to ever survive back in the wild”.
He added, “I've always loved animals, there's no other job like it. We take in any kind of animal, except cats and dogs, 24 hours a day. The Sanctuary has 20 volunteers and needs over £25,000 a year to cover costs, and I would like to thank the Air Cadets for helping to raise funds to keep us going”.
Kath Moreton one of the Sainsbury's team who manages the stores nominated charity fundraising efforts also thanked the Cadets for their efforts which had helped to push the Sainsbury's nominated charity collection for the Nuneaton & Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary to over £4000.
Flight Lieutenant Paul Hincks of 121 ( Nuneaton ) Officer Commanding 121 ( Nuneaton ) Squadron said, “Geoff gave a most interesting insight into the way in which the Nuneaton & Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary provides an essential rescue service for injured animals. The cadets were all delighted to be able to meet all the animals, however, and I must include myself in this, some of us were not so keen to get too close to Marmite. We did all eventually, with a bit of encouragement from Geoff, get to touch Marmite, me included and for someone with a fear of snakes it took quite a lot of nerve to do so. I must admit that it wasn't anything like you would expect and the part I touched was just about as far away from the end with all the teeth as you can get. The most disturbing thing for the majority of us was the fact that a Red tailed Boa Constrictor had been abandoned in the park so close to our headquarters. Just think he could have turned up unannounced all on his own .”
If you would like to know more about the work of the Nuneaton & Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary or perhaps make a donation to help them care for injured animals please visit www.nuneatonwildlife.co.uk
More Photoghraphs of the Wildlife