Animal Ambulance and Bird Shelter The Leiden region is happy with enthusiastic volunteers

In 2021, the counter was 4,966 trips with animal ambulances and 3,799 “wild” animals recorded for most birds. These numbers already indicate that it is always occupied in the Leiden Animal Aid and Bird Shelter district, located at Drabban 14 in Leiderdorp.

Written by: Margaret Hilbrandt

The organization has three paid coordinators, but is also led by more than a hundred enthusiastic volunteers. They run the center where animals come in in distress, go out with animal ambulances, keep equipment in high order and look after the birds. There is one thing in common: they love animals.

The ambulance is just arriving at the bird sanctuary. Exit: Licelot Rambonet and Jeslin Holswelder. In the cage there is a small blackbird that fell out of the nest and was caught by a cat. Bernard Niederven receives the blackbird. Fortunately, the damage is minor. A small hole in the back – easily sewn in – is a keepsake for the four-legged friend. Care, love, attention and comfort help the blackbird to stand on its feet, or rather in the air.

Lislotte is an ambulance driver and has been associated with the organization for five years. As a biologist and researcher, her research into animal ambulances inspired her to volunteer.

Ghislaine, an animal ambulance officer, studied biomedical sciences. She is very interested in animals and registered as a volunteer at the beginning of Corona. For example, stop working from home in an enjoyable and beneficial way during that time.

Bernard works Wednesday evenings every two weeks in the animal ambulance and every Thursday at the bird sanctuary. He came from the Groningen countryside from a family with many animals and moved to Leiden for his business.

When asked why he knows so much about birds and other animals, he replied that it is about Learning on the job† He started 2 years ago and can now call himself big. In addition to medical care and procedures, he also performs coordination duties.

Pleasure and satisfaction

These volunteers have a full-time job in addition to their volunteer work, but this does not apply to all volunteers. All their hearts are in the right place. They got a lot of pleasure and satisfaction from this job. “It is hugely diverse. No message is the same. All animals are given the same attention and love.”

Sometimes you encounter horrific things, says Bernard: “People love animals, but sometimes things get out of hand, like a police report about a man in a houseboat with as many as fifteen neglected cats. They had to be caught and taken care of.”

hit the towel

There are also regular funny or crazy accidents. Lislotte: “We received a report of a dog or cat falling on the highway. Later it turned out to be a blow to the towel.”

Bernard was present when a bird of prey was reported in Leiden. A bit strange in the city center. However, the ambulance left all necessary precautions: a large container for raptors, gloves and face protection. On their arrival they found an overturned bucket in the street with a group of children and the lady who called them. “Where is the bird? Not under that bucket?” The reply was “Yes,” “And it has really big claws.” Lifting the bucket, it turned out that the pigeon was sitting under it. The lady still thought it was a bird of prey.

Another report on a lizard that was found with an accompanying photo from a very close range, it turned out to be not a meter, but only ten centimeters.

The stories were interrupted by another report from a dog. Lislotte and Ghislaine quickly leave with the ambulance.

too small

The bird sanctuary currently houses a number of baby ducks, pigeons, blackbirds and gulls. When the birds recover, they return to their own environment. search location. The current location of the shelter is actually quite small. Reserves are built for new construction, but there is still enough and the search for a suitable site continues.

The Animal Ambulance and Bird Shelter are funded by donations and donations. For example, the heat boxes at the bird shelter were acquired through crowdfunding. There is a close collaboration with De Wulp, a large specialized bird sanctuary in The Hague. Hardened birds, which must learn to fly again, go there, like waterfowl, because they have ponds there.

Make your pet cut

When it comes to pets, there are of course a lot of connections with shelters in Noordwijk and Stevenshage. Dogs must be cut down, and cats are not obligated to do so, but this often happens in practice. Volunteers invite people to keep the registration updated. In this way, pet owners collected by the animal ambulance can be quickly tracked down. Volunteers have another request for the audience: Don’t leave trash that birds might get involved in.

We welcome volunteers

New volunteers are always welcome in the Leiden region for Animal Aid and Bird Shelter. According to General Coordinator Erwin Huffman, there is currently a need for additional assistants at the power plant. In the summer, when it gets busier, a second ambulance is deployed and volunteers are needed for that as well. Internally, a thorough induction process is ensured. Medical knowledge is not necessary. Although common sense.

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