WATCH: Fox, otter and three swans among patients at Ireland's first wildlife hospital

WATCH: Fox, otter and three swans among patients at Ireland's first wildlife hospital

Fox Fionn arrived suffering from mange and had caught a nasty infection from the constant scratching. Picture: WRI Wildlife Hospital

A fox, an otter and three swans are among those receiving treatment at Ireland's first wildlife hospital.

The volunteer-run Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland (WRI) facility opens its doors on Friday on the grounds of a Navan pub which was forced to shut due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stables to the rear of the Tara Na Rí pub have been converted to accommodate animals and birds with a portable building serving as an intensive care unit for sick and injured wildlife.

The hospital will receive species of wildlife from all over Ireland, catering for 500 to 600 patients a month in the initial stages.

The facility is run by hospital manager Emma Higgs, education officer Aoife McPartlin and animal manager Dan Donoher, previously of Kildare Animal Foundation Wildlife Unit, alongside a team of volunteers.

Speaking on Newstalk, Mr Donoher said: "Any wildlife species in Ireland we’re going to be able to cater for. 

From a small mouse to a badger, a swan, we’ll even take in seals temporarily.” 

WRI has been campaigning for a hospital for a number of years and says this temporary facility has come in response to a “significant increase in awareness of wildlife during the pandemic”. 

Gill Murphy, who serves on WRI’s board of directors, said this year rehabilitators have seen a doubling in calls to them around injured wildlife.

“The lockdowns have actually resulted in people being at home and being more aware of their environment and what’s going on and we need to build something to help that.” 

WRI has secured an initial 12-month lease for the hospital, which is reliant on donations and small grants.

It will need about €140,000 annually to deliver care for Ireland's wildlife.

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