The National Centre for Reptile Welfare, located at Hadlow College in Kent, is pleased to announce that it is now open for business and accepting animals.
The first centre of its type in the UK, bringing education, charity and the pet industry together, it will operate as a centre for welfare excellence, providing refuge and care for up to 600 unwanted and vulnerable reptiles and amphibians, rehoming them through a national network of retailers and wholesalers.
The centre, which was developed in association with the Reptile & Exotic Pet Trade Association (REPTA), is a joint venture between the College and The Pet Charity, a national charity which promotes the benefits of pet ownership. The establishment of the centre has been driven by the growing public interest in ownership of reptiles and amphibians as pets and the need to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information on the care and needs of these animals in captivity. With a comparative lack of published information and the majority of knowledge on the subject confined to an ever-growing number of very experienced enthusiasts, the industry was keen to support a project that improved the welfare of these specialist animals.
Situated close to Hadlow College’s existing animal management facilities, the centre will provide the College’s degree-level students with practical husbandry, care and non-invasive behavioural and husbandry research opportunities on a wide range of captive species. The students will be working on all aspects of rehabilitating and rehoming amphibians and reptiles, as well as having access to the expertise of recognised animal welfare and husbandry experts Tim Wass MBE and Chris Newman, Chief Executive of REPTA.
The centre comprises full veterinary triage and initial quarantine facilities, holding facilities for venomous species, and housing for everything from small reptiles, such as Geckos, to large constrictors and Iguanas while awaiting rehousing. In the future it is hoped that the centre will also be able to offer training opportunities for industry and enthusiasts.
Dr Maeve Moorcroft MVB MRCVS, head of pets for Pets At Home, who supported the centre by supplying much of the equipment, said: “This is an important new facility that will make a significant contribution to the welfare of reptiles from around the country. I am delighted that Pets at Home was able to contribute in such a tangible way to the setting up of the NCRW. We had removed a number of vivariums from our stores and this was the perfect opportunity to recycle them to great advantage. As a trustee of The Pet Charity, I am very proud of the collaborative nature of the work involved in getting this centre off the ground.”
Mark Lumsdon-Taylor, Deputy Principal and CEO of the Hadlow Group, said: “We are delighted to have our new reptile rehabilitation therapy centre here at Hadlow College. As the definitive animal behaviour and management education centre in the south of England, our work is expanding. Being the first reptile rehabilitation centre marks a new direction in university student experience and associated applied research. We look forward to the formal opening in the autumn.”
Tim Wass MBE and former Chief Officer of the RSPCA said: “The Pet Charity is delighted to be have been able to work with REPTA and Hadlow College to create the National Centre for Reptile Welfare. It's a truly world class facility, which brings together the opportunity to not only rehome animals that require it, but also to provide education and experience to hobbyist, industry members and academics both current and future"
Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the centre can call 01732 851 185
The centre will be holding an official launch event in the autumn.
Press contact: Philip Orrell, Hadlow Group PR and Media Manager, Tel: 01732 372794, firstname.lastname@example.org