Welcome to the Exotic Pet Refuge! Founded in 1984, the Exotic Pet Refuge is a small charity that gives home to all kinds of animals. We take in creatures from all kinds of backgrounds - the RSPCA, owners who cannot care for a pet anymore, organisations like zoos... the list goes on. These two factors are very important at the refuge.
Of course, we are first and foremost indebted to everyone that visits or helps in any way and through our education and conservation programmes we can very much ‘give back’ to the local and wider community. We promote public education and awareness by providing information about our animals, both the exotics and British wildlife in respect of conservation biodiversity through information panels, educational talks and field trips here. We work with a wide range of groups, from schools to companies; youth groups e.g. scouts, Duke of Edinburgh students to WI and elderly peoples’ clubs.
Our volunteers, supporters and students have ranged from 14 yrs to 81 yrs; everyone has skills and benefits they can bring, even if they are not quite sure what these are when they arrive! Many with special needs or disabilities have also benefitted in return over the years as they have said they can connect with animals in a way that does not happen with people and this has helped then build more confidence and develop skills that greatly help them in other areas of their life. At the Exotic Pet Refuge we are committed to offering a range of high quality educational experiences.
Some of what is on offer is as follows:
•Curriculum based sessions; we can offer sessions on a variety of subjects which will support other curriculum work.
•Special species or animal workshops these can be based on just one particular animal here or several of the same species from our mammals, birds or reptiles.
•For younger students in 2012 we are planning a petting section at the sanctuary so that the care of handling of pets and domesticated animals can be learnt.
•Art and photography sessions including drawing and painting using any of our animals as subjects.
•Animal handling experiences, we usually do this as part of our work with schools within the framework of assemblies or classroom presentations, coupled with this will be a talk about the species, its natural habitat and the issues it may face in the wild, also including a question and answer session.
•Guided educational tours of the sanctuary.
•Sessions to enhance learning, based on specific projects that students may already have underway.
•Work experience placements, this is valued as an enrichment to the curriculum. It provides the individual with an insight into the world of work, a new role and a new set of experiences.
The proven success of the scheme undoubtedly broadens the perspectives of many teenagers and assists the transition between school and work.