English exotic pet refuge plans expansion

PLANS are under way for a massive extension at a sanctuary for rare and endangered animals.

The team at the Exotic Pet Refuge, in Deeping St James, near Market Deeping, is calling for the public to support their Key To The Future Campaign, which aims to raise £200,000.

This will pay for a new 29-acre site, which would enable the four-acre refuge to spread its wings and provide more space for the 400 animals currently being cared for.

In addition, it would enable the centre to cope with the influx of animals expected to need a new home following the introduction of the new Animal Welfare Act next year. The act will tighten its controls on care for exotic species.

The refuge, in Station Road, has been running for almost 30 years, and provides a home for abandoned, abused and unwanted exotic animals, including monkeys, snakes, raccoons and a lynx.

Room is rapidly running out, so now the refuge team is desperate to raise the funds to buy the neighbouring land.

Darren Mansfield, whose mother, Pam, founded the refuge, along with her late husband, Mel, said: “We want to secure the future of the refuge.

“We want to expand our enclosures so that we can endeavour to give the animals as near to naturalistic surroundings as possible.

“We’ve been going for 30 years already, and we want to make sure we can keep going. We need the extra land and we need the public’s support to help us expand.

“We now have the opportunity to buy 29 acres of land on the opposite side of the road to the refuge, which is likely to cost about £200,000.”

The refuge moved from a smaller site in Etton, near Peterborough, 10 years ago, and it costs about £45,000 a year to run.

The work is entirely funded by charitable donations and support from dedicated volunteers.

Now people are being asked to dig deep and support the centre by attending an open day on Sunday, December 3, when the campaign will be launched.

The charity’s new patron, BBC Really Wild Show presenter Steve Backshall, will be giving guided tours to visitors on the day.

The event runs from 10.30am until 4pm and costs £3.50 for adults and £2.50 for children.

Anyone interested in donating to the Key To The Future Campaign should call 01778 345923.

Article by: Chief reporter, Rachel Devlin,

23 November 2006

http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx? SectionID=845&ArticleID=1893890

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