Wildlife rescue station helps record number

Almost three-quarters of injured animals in Prague were birds

The Prague Wildlife Rescue Station was busy in 2017. There was a record number of animals treated, some 4,134. This was more than a 10 percent increase from 2016 when it treated 3,707. There were 130 species.

The station, which is part of the Prague forestry company Lesy hl. m. Prahy operates 365 days of the year.

Birds took up a record 73 percent of the patients. There were some unusual ones not normally encountered such as the barnacle goose, short-eared owl, and little owl.

Very often, rescuers hurried to treat the youngsters that had fallen prematurely from the nest. Among the bird species, 511 wild ducks accounted for the largest number of abandoned or orphaned youngsters that the staff raised to adulthood.

The rescue station saw 162 swans, 133 magpies, 94 swifts and 96 kestrels. The most common cause of bird injuries was the impact on an obstacle, especially glass, which is almost invisible to flying birds. Other dangers are tram power lines, which cause injuries to Prague swans.

The remaining 27 percent of injured included mammals. There were 272 northern white-breasted hedgehogs and 253 West European hedgehogs, who were most often exhausted and hungry. Other large groups included 220 bats and 130 European hares.

The last patient in 2017 was a parti-colored bat, or rearmouse, found during the New Year's Eve in Zbraslav. The bat is recovering and doing well.

The mild winter so far has been the cause of frequent rescues of bats and hedgehogs, who would normally hibernate, but instead are up and rummaging for food that is now hard to find in nature. They arrive at the station hungry and on the end of their energy.

The rescues have continued into 2018, and the first patient was a common blackbird, which was attacked by a cat in Vinoř. The blackbird broke a long tradition of a swan being the first patient. Swans are frightened by fireworks.

Most animal injuries were recorded in the Prague 1, Prague 4, Prague 5 and Prague 6 districts, accounting for 1,394 animals.

The station also educates people on animal care is about and how to behave properly when finding a wounded animal. The rescue station provided a total of 470 wildlife conservation events in 2017, attended by 24,000 visitors, which was also a record.

The rescue station operates all year round. For information on contacting it or to donate money, visit www.lhmp.cz.

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