Far fewer infected animals have been taken to shelters (Herentals).

Meden Kempen Wildlife Taxi Team can simply be thought of as a transport service to transport injured or sick wild animals, among other things, to VOC Neteland in Herenthout. Kempin residents can call this free service every day.

This squirrel had worked nests in Fusilar. © WTT MK

And the stone call in generation made up the 1,000th call for the volunteer team on Tuesday, but last year that 1,000th call came on October 4th, in 2020 even on September 15th. “Meanwhile, the counter has reached 1002 calls,” says WTT MK’s Joint Regional Coordinator Rimsky Gordon. “In 670 cases, a volunteer driver went on the road. In 2021, there were a total of 1,123 calls and 769 trips, and in 2020 there were 1,225 calls, but only 505.”

Hikers saw this vulnerable black gull lying by the canal at Ulin. © WTT MK

small drop

The conclusion is that 2022 is “just” a quiet year, because the bird and wild animal shelter VOC Neteland in Herenthout also recorded much lower numbers than in previous years. If volunteers have to care for more than five thousand animals in 2021, the 2022 counter will be about 4,100 on Wednesday, December 28th.

A swan caught in a fishing line on Campina Beach in Disel. © WTT MK

“I don’t have a real explanation, because the decline does not continue in one specific group. For example, we see a slight decline in both birds and mammals. For example, the breeding season started later than usual. Let’s be positive and hope that there will be fewer animals in need.” “.

These two fresh heads – the young honey buzzard – were found in Gill. © WTT MK

Wood pigeon, hedgehog and crow

“But of course you can’t predict when animals will be in need. Plus, we rely entirely on people’s reports. For example, rainy or very hot days are often calmer, because people stay indoors. But we had a glaring exception to this.” The rule this year: We get the most reports in one day, no less than two dozen, on July 19, the hottest day of the year, Jordan says.

As a volunteer for Wildlife Taxi Team Midden-Kempen, you sometimes have to make (a lot of) effort to reach an animal in need. This swan had a fishing line around its leg near Sebelco in Desile. © WTT MK

The top three most frequently moved animals remained unchanged for some time, with a wooden dove perched on the highest scaffold, followed by the hedgehog and the crow. But again this year we had some very special guests. Just think of the beaver we rescued from the canal at Balen with the fire brigade, or the eagle owl found in a meadow at Oud-Turnhout. They are not inferior to this. But they are also often related to road injuries or waterfowl that have become entangled in fishing lines.”

Volunteer Maurice shows a tawny owl that was found in the (thankfully unused) fireplace of a house in Herntals. © WTT MK

Young Heron

The Kempenaars’ animal knowledge doesn’t always seem to be the best. For example, according to Rimsky Jordan, dispatchers often get a call from a young heron who is in trouble. “However, we haven’t yet met our first little heron, because in all those cases he was always a woodland pigeon,” he laughs. “Or a black pigeon that turns out to be just a crow when it arrives. Most wonderful of all is a barn owl that has been mistaken for a stone marten.”

Niki volunteers with a (adult) Heron that was picked off the road in Westerlo. © WTT MK

Although Wildlife Taxi Team Midden-Kempen volunteers have been active for five years, the service is still unknown to many. However, the organization diligently distributes leaflets to vets and specialty stores, and staff can often be found at information stands at markets.

This Martin scored an unforgettable goal in Ballen. © WTT MK

“Unfortunately, it also means that we rarely find new volunteers, while among the animal lovers in Kempen there certainly should be. Candidates are still welcome. Although I am very proud of what we have achieved with our people over the past five years. It is wonderful To see volunteers re-deploy themselves every day, in rain or heatwave, as a dispatcher or as a driver. Sometimes everything seems so simple, but it’s a whole process that makes a difference to so many animals and gives them a second chance,” concludes Palinar Rimsky-Jordan.

During the hot summer, there have been several calls for dehydrated animals, like this squirrel in Turnhout. © WTT MK

Volunteer Willy keeps a real eagle owl under control at Oud-Turnhout. When it turned out that he had not actually been injured, he was fired that same night. © WTT MK

With the help of firefighters, a beaver was rescued from the Baleen Canal in February and released into the wild. © WTT MK


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