HernthothNew Year traditionally means a review of the past year for the operation at Vogelopvangcentrum (VOC) Neteland in Herenthout. For the first time in many years, fewer injured animals have been brought to the center. From more than 5,000 in 2021, it went to 4,109 patients in 2022. Together with staff member Celeste Dillen, we went in search of the cause.
In 2021, more than 5,000 infected animals were brought to VOC Neteland in Herenthout. No. It’s been going up the Langstraat for many years. As it turned out, until last year. “Two years ago, 5,320 patients were brought here for care within one year,” says Celeste Delin from VOC Neteland. In the past year, that number has fallen by more than 20 percent. We finally reached the number of 4,109 victims in 2022.”
According to the employee, there may be various reasons for this decline. First of all, Corona is also a present factor here. “There is definitely the fact that the corona virus has gradually disappeared and fewer people have gone for nature walks to find infected or weakened animals,” she says.
Owls realize they have less food, so their instinct is to bring fewer young into the world
But also the fact that nature sometimes rages and some floods happen takes its toll. “For example, the owls had less food, I think primarily because the mice drowned because of the amount of water at certain times. The instinct of these animals tells them that it is better to bring fewer or no youngsters into the world, because they feel that they will not find anything. There is enough food for them anyway. The number of hedgehogs in our country is already decreasing anyway, as a result of which these animals were also brought in less last year.
However, more than 4,000 animals were cared for at the sanctuary last year, which is a huge number. Despite the fact that the population is declining, the hedgehog is still in the lead with 661 people caring for the animals. In second place is the wood pigeon (547), followed by the house sparrow (246). The people of VOC Neteland see that more and more owls need care. “We even received four eagle owl cubs. It is remarkable that they can be found more and more in our area. But tawny owls, little owls, little owls and long-eared owls also received care from us in 2022.”
There is no doubt that the people working at VOC Neteland are still doing a great job. Each day, four permanent staff work, who in turn are supported by one hundred volunteers committed to caring for the animals and building and maintaining the gardens. “But there’s more,” Celeste explains. “We can also count on a great group of assistants for our events throughout the year. Without them none of this would be possible. For that we are grateful to them!”
VOC Neteland still gets a good part of the much-needed money from the proceeds from events such as an open day, quiz, spaghetti evening or the summer terrace which will be set up again from April. The many gifts and memberships that are entered into are also a great source of income.
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