THE team at Wild Wings Birds of Prey Education and Rehabilitation Centre has been left ‘devastated’ after they were ordered to vacate its premises at Bents Garden Centre by the end of the month.
The news came as a complete ‘shock’ to staff at the not for profit organisation, who were told to stop trading by April 13th and must move out of the facility by April 30 after an eviction notice was handed to the team yesterday, Wednesday.
Wild Wings moved to Bents Garden Centre around 10 months ago.
The centre houses around 90 birds including harris hawks, peregrine falcons, American kestrels and snowy owls.
Around 95 percent of these birds have been rescued.
Vicki Barton, trainee falconer at the rescue and rehabilitation centre, said: “I feel like we have had the rug pulled from under our feet. It was just a bomb shell.
“All we have been told is that it is no longer working for them. We are as much in the dark about the actual reasons as everyone else.”
A spokesman for Bents said it allowed Wild Wings to move into the facilities without any formal arrangement to speed up the process as the rescue centre needed to move from its previous location urgently.
The spokesman added: “During the last 12 months we have been working hard to try and negotiate an agreement and work up a formal contract to support their business moving forward, but during this time have been unable to agree terms.
“It hasn’t been an instant decision to not continue negotiations. We have been working with Wild Wings over the last few months to try and find a solution to make it work, which is why it has been such a hard decision to take.
“We recognise Wild Wings is a not for profit business and we have therefore invested a lot of time and money into additional marketing work to help promote the centre and encourage people to visit. Unfortunately it hasn’t worked in the way we all hoped for.”
The Wild Wings team is now looking for a plot of land to relocate to in the coming weeks.
Vicki added: “We are desperate. We need about two acres of land for an aviary with around 90 birds and a flying area.
"It’s is a big ask but we are hoping someone will come to the rescue.”
Following the announcement, people have been posting their disgust at Bents' decision with some people urging customers to boycott the garden centre.
Jo White said: “It’s absolutely disgusting to give a self-funding animal rescue centre less than 30 days notice to find alternative housing for 86.
“Absolute shame on you Bents and I will never set foot through your doors again.”
If you can help Wild Wings visit wild-wings.net.