Gentleshaw Wildlife centre, a registered charity,
is a small sanctuary for exotic animals and birds of prey. As well as
a hospital unit for the treatment of wild raptors, (not on display), the
centre is home to over 30 different species of Bird of prey, Primate,
Reptile, Invertebrate, Raccoons, Cats and many more.
An activity pack for children (costing £1.00) is now available. They can complete this whilst they are visiting the centre.
The centre has been at its current base in Eccleshall, Staffordshire since the early 1990s. Although its founder the late Rob Smith, had been rescuing birds of prey and animals for many years before, the centre was set up and opened to the public on 9th April 1993. Starting as a home for just a few unwanted animals and birds the centre soon began to take in more and more rescued animals.
Some of the animals we take in have never seen their own kind before,
this can have terrible effects on species such as primates as they are
naturally sociable. Some animals have not been fed the correct food, Some
kept in the wrong type of housing and some of the birds come in never
having been able to stretch their wings or see day light.
Our aim is always to give safe and caring homes to animals which have nowhere else to go and to provide them with a much better quality of life than they had before coming to us. Our enclosures are not state of the art, or open plan. They are designed to provide as much room as possible for the animals to use, which means mesh walls and roofs to provide maximum surface area for the animals.
We fly some of our birds every day if the weather is suitable. In winter the birds are allowed to gain weight though training flights may still be done, again this depends on the conditions and cannot be guaranteed. Any flights are always at the discretion of the falconer.
These training sessions provide exercise for the birds, as well as entertainment
for the visitors, subject to other experiences taking place at the centre,
flying displays with commentary may also take place, (once again, these
are at the discretion of the falconer).
We are dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of wild birds of prey and also provide educational talks to schools and visitor groups to help people become more aware of the dangers these superb creatures face.
We are also the first point of contact for the Raptor Rescue helpline, a national service dedicated to Birds of Prey specifically, we cover all points of the British Isles, from Scotland to Cornwall and Northern Ireland. It is not unknown for us to take well in excess of 100 calls in a single month, covering a wide range of problems, from orphaned owl chicks, through injured buzzards, to captive bred hawks which have escaped and been caught up in trees.
Should you be unable to visit the centre, you may be interested to know that we are regularly asked to provide outside 'static displays', by venues around the region. Though we do not fly the birds at these displays, you are more than welcome to talk to the staff and meet the birds 'up-close'