The National Centre for Reptile Welfare (NCRW) officially opened its doors yesterday after a year in development. The centre is a joint venture between The Pet Charity and Hadlow College in association with the Reptile and Exotic Pet Trade (REPTA) and it aims to provide a centre of excellence for all aspects of reptile welfare.
This is the first facility in the world that combines the expertise of an educational establishment, a national charity, industry, government and enthusiasts. It will bring together these groups to harness their interest in reptiles and amphibians and allow them to work together to not only help animals in need today, but also educate keepers and decision makers of the future.
The centre consists of a range of facilities:
- Veterinary triage and reception room Initial quarantine facility Holding for up to 600 reptiles and amphibians Separate holding for animals that need to be segregated Venomous animal room with external viewing Virtual pet shop to facilitate training Classroom area Full food prep and hygiene area
- These state of the art facilities provide the centre and its associates with opportunities to provide unrivalled services:
- Rehoming of all reptile and amphibian species, including venomous animals, with a capacity of over 1000 animals a year.
- Holding animals related to legal cases.
- Non invasive research opportunities for degree students attending Hadlow college.
- Hands on experience for students relating to all aspects of reptile care.
- Training opportunities for local authorities, industry and enthusiasts.
Quarantine of some species where required. The centre also benefited from a donation of £98,000 from Pets At Home charity "Support Adoption For Pets" for which it is extremely grateful.
Chris Newman (REPTA) said: "There are many pet rehoming centres across the UK, some good and some not so good.
"This facility will be different as it not only draws from the expertise and opportunities provided by its partnership with Hadlow, but also works with the pet industry to help solve the inevitable outcome of pet ownership; animals that need a new home.
"Although reptiles and amphibians account for only a small percentage of the pets that need to be found a new home each year, compared to dogs and cats for example, there is a need that requires addressing"
Tim Wass MBE, The Pet Charity and former Chief Officer of the RSPCA said: "When the opportunity arose to develop this centre the board of the Pet Charity were unanimous in its support for the project.
"There has never been a project like this, that can make a real difference to animal welfare now and in the future by drawing on the experience of so many people.
"Although ultimately its future will rely on the generosity of the public for its ongoing success, we felt that it deserved the initial funding we provided."
Pets At Home donated many of the vivariums as they were being removed from stores. In a statement Pets At Home stated that they "were delighted that the vivariums and associated equipment could be recycled for such a worthy cause."
The NCRW will have an official opening in the Autumn.
For more information regarding the NCRW please email email@example.com or call 07897 692060.
Some facts and figures:
- It is estimated that there are currently more pet reptiles and amphibians than pet dogs in the UK.
- Reptiles and amphibians generally have a lower need for rehoming than other animals and form only a small percentage (less than 5%) of the animals re-homed in the UK each year.
- The centre cost over £500,000 to develop with funding and assistance received from The Pet Charity, Hadlow College, REPTA, Support Adoption For Pets, Peregrine Livefoods, Vetark, Microclimate, Hagen UK, Monkfield Nutrition, the FBH and many other industry and hobby supporters.
- The centre will cost over £100,000 a year to run which will need to be met with public donations and industry support.
- The UK reptile and amphibian industry is worth over £300 million per annum.