As I am an avid animal lover I was delighted when The Orkney News asked me to visit and write a short review of The Fernvalley Wildlife Centre.
The centre which has been open for just about a month is run by animal enthusiast Lisa Farrer whose love and passion for the animals in her care is apparent from the minute she starts to to speak about them which then becomes even more apparent when you walk into the centre itself.
On walking into the animals sanctuary you are instantly struck by the light and the spacious surroundings in which the habitats and enclosures are set, allowing the visitor to see each particular animal without disturbing the ones close by.
There are many delightful animals here from the Pigmy Hedgehogs, Tatiana and Tink and the Madagascan Tenrecs, Peanut and Pickle at the start to the terrapins, in their pools, Lucky, Chance, Hope, Faith, Fortuna, Clover and Promise so named because without Lisa they would have been destroyed, she went on to explain that the mixture of Red Bellied and Yellow Bellied Sliders are classed as an invasive reptile and are no longer allowed to be sold within the UK and as such when they are received in rescue centres they are instantly booked in to be destroyed. On the day that Lisa arrived there were 50 to choose from so she just wriggled her fingers and the ones which responded first were the ones which would be brought from Leeds to their new home in Orkney.
There are also snakes and lizards of many species from a Rosy Boa, Navajo,
to a Starred Agama, Asteria who is still a little camera shy. There is also a few furries there too for the reptile fearties like my Mum; however fair do’s to her though she did manage to get quite close to the snakes which apart from being quite astounding is again testimony to the relaxed atmosphere that Lisa has created.
Each of the animals comes with it’s unique rescue story, which is a great reminder that when taking animals onboard we really must know and be ready for what it shall entail. For example Terrapins can last for over 40yrs in captivity which is an incredible commitment to make. Research into your pet of choice is essential as not all shall be lucky enough to find their own Lisa if your circumstances change.
Lisa herself came to her present position after feeling disappointed with the treatment of the animals in a zoo where she worked. Feeling that she would only ever be completely happy once she had created her own animal sanctuary, with having trained in house at a small zoo, she is well equipped with all the necessary training needed to look after and nurture the animals within her care.
On going outside you are confronted by what are fast becoming the sanctuary celebrities; in what can only be described as the Ritz of enclosures. Cali, Hera and Mo are three delightful Meerkats that only stand still long enough to give you the once over before getting down to the serious business of digging holes which they do with great gusto and speed.
Since visiting the centre we have discovered that there shall be new mammals arriving soon, species unknown, so keeping an eye on the Fernvalley centre is a must for animal enthusiasts.
The centre also has a cafe and is available to book for school outings, birthdays and educational experiences to delight and inform all age groups.
To get in touch with Fernvally Wildlife Centre :
Phone: 01856 751461
Or you can write to: Fernvalley Wildlife Centre,
Orkney KW17 2HB
Written by Naomi Armet
“A snake is for life, not just for fancy” – to paraphrase.
We’ll have to visit – it’s just along the road from us.
Hi, please could you note that the telephone number you have published on your article re Orkney wildlife centre is incorrect – it should read 01856751461. Could you please amend to prevent me from receiving any more wrong numbers, thank you.
Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience you may have suffered because of this error, the number has been duly updated, thank you for letting us know. Helen Armet