Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary and the Riviera Guesthouse

Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary Celebrates 15 Years!


 Being located on the coast and with the moors just a short distance away, wildlife abounds here in Whitby.

From dolphins, whales and seals to foxes, birds of prey and more, each day is different in the natural world.

With all these amazing creatures in the beautiful seascapes and landscapes, sometimes nature needs a helping hand.

Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary

Helping Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary

Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) is a rescue and rehabilitation charity.

Did you know, this hardworking organisation admits close to 6,000 rescues a year!

We helped this worthy cause, more to come later in this blog!

Up to mid-December 2023, 2,709 rescues were admitted last year.

This included: 72 amphibians, five badgers, 25 swans, 44 cats, seven deer, 1053 seabirds, 20 bats and many, many more small creatures.

How It All Began

With a quarter of century ‘under its belt’ founder Alexandra Farmer established WWS in 2009, while volunteering at her local veterinary practice.

Among her first ‘patients’ there were two pigeons, five herring gulls, several hedgehogs … and so it began!

Alexandra realised the vets didn’t have sufficient room for keeping injured or sick wild creatures for the long term, so she offered to help by way of a couple of cages at home.

Finding she was getting calls locally and regionally, the charity was established, charity number 1185213.

Today, WWS has over 170 volunteers, all dedicated to what they do.

Animals Rescued and Helped

Foxes, hedgehogs, rabbits, birds … the list is pretty varied.

WWS now has a custom-built premises meeting specific requirements including several aviaries and a seabird rehab pool

The premises are contained in a paddock close to Whitby.

It is here that animals get the temporary care and medical attention they need.

In time the creatures are rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

This work is made possible by a number of sponsors, which you can see here.

The site isn’t open to the public as sometimes the animals are very sick and are potentially contagious.

Also in order to aid recovery, the site needs to be peaceful and restful, with limited human contact as much as possible.

Teamwork Is Dreamwork

helping WWS

Of course, the work of the WWS wouldn’t be possible without staff (and volunteers).

Open every day from 8am to 6pm, the team includes our Site Manager, Alexandra.

The team also includes site supervisors (find out who they are here).

The work WWS does each and every day wouldn’t be possible without veterinary surgeons at the Beck Veterinary Practice.

Then of course there are the wildlife volunteers, and the charity shop volunteers, which is a hardworking team of 15.

As a charity, WWS needs trustees, and you can find out who they are here.

Looking to the Future

Alexandra said: “I have grown a passion for wild animal care and it has literally become my life as well as completing several steps to becoming more knowledgeable and obiding to the law.

“This includes a diploma in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, a diploma in British Wild Mammals, rabies vaccinations (for the rehabilitation of bats) and licensing to keep and release grey squirrels.”


What To Do If You Find An Injured Animal

WWS will give advice, of course, but there some steps that can be taken which can help.

 From small birds and mammals to road traffic collision casualties, WWS has some advice on this page.

Recognition for Hard Work

In the early autumn of 2023, WWS was one of eight local community heroes that were honoured in BBC Radio Tees Make a Difference Awards.

WWS received the Green Award awarded to an individual or group of people who help to make where we live more environmentally friendly and better for nature.

What About ‘Interference’?

As Alexandra herself says: “ I get asked if it is interfering with nature, to which I reply that the vast majority of wildlife casualties are caused by human interference in the first instance. “Whether that be through deforestation, car collisions, shootings, snares and traps, building work, cats and dogs and even malicious attacks. I therefore feel it important to right those wrongs and give nature a helping hand, for which they so deserve.”

Find out more here: https://whitbywildlife.co.uk/about-us-2/

The Finances

As with any charity, there are costs incurred in order to carry out ‘the good works’.

For WWS, the monthly running costs head towards £10,000 so donations are vital. You can donate here: https://whitbywildlife.co.uk/how-to-help/

New Shop

The charity has recently announced the location of its brand-new charity shop!

It is located in the old TSB building in Flowergate, Whitby.

This new location is bigger, has more storage and has better footfall.

The team along with volunteers, local businesses and others are working tirelessly to get it ready for opening.

We can’t wait to pop in, have a browse and help raise funds for this great cause!

The Riviera Rolls Up Its Sleeves

Helping the wildlife.

Here at the Riviera, we are not afraid of hard work, or getting our hands dirty!

Last year, our family decided to offer a helping hand to WWS.

After making arrangements, we went up to clear land and plant trees.

This project was part of our son Zak’s Cubs Pack.

Shovels, wheelbarrows, wellies, gloves and more were donned and used, and we loved it.

It gave us a sense of wellbeing and pride as we saw the fruits of our labours.

Keeping Tabs on Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary

WWS has a great Facebook feed with lots of update.

Did you know you can also adopt some of the recused animals, including cats!

You can find out more on the WWS website. 

Riviera Guesthouse in  Whitby

Our family run business is one of many proud concerns in our hometown.

We run our 15-bedroomed guesthouse overlooking the North Sea and it has been a source of inspiration to us for many years.

Our family has grown over the years, yet our business has remained our constant.

Get in touch with us today

Or, even better, book with us directly for the best rates.