National Centre For Reptile Welfare Opens Its Doors

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National Centre for Reptile Welfare opens its doors
1st August 2018

By Karen Pickwick
The National Centre for Reptile Welfare (NCRW) officially opens its doors today (August 1) after a year in development. 
 
The centre is a joint venture between The Pet Charity and Hadlow College in association with the Reptile and Exotic Pet Trade (REPTA) and it aims to provide a centre of excellence for all aspects of reptile welfare.
 
This is the first facility in the world that combines the expertise of an educational establishment, a national charity, industry, government and enthusiasts. It will bring together these groups to harness their interest in reptiles and amphibians and allow them to work together to not only help animals in need today, but also educate keepers and decision makers of the future.
 
The centre consists of a range of facilities:
  Veterinary triage and reception room
  Initial quarantine facility
  Holding for up to 600 reptiles and amphibians
  Separate holding for animals that need to be segregated 
  Venomous animal room with external viewing
  Virtual pet shop to facilitate training
  Classroom area
  Full food prep and hygiene area
 
These state-of-the-art facilities provide the centre and its associates with opportunities to provide unrivalled services:
• Rehoming of all reptile and amphibian species, including venomous animals, with a capacity of over 1000 animals a year.
• Holding animals related to legal cases.
• Non invasive research opportunities for degree students attending Hadlow college.
• Hands on experience for students relating to all aspects of reptile care.
• Training opportunities for local authorities, industry and enthusiasts.
• Quarantine of some species where required.
 
The centre also benefited from a donation of £98,000 from Pets At Home charity Support Adoption For Pets, for which it is extremely grateful.
 
Chris Newman, chairman of REPTA, said: “There are many pet rehoming centres across the UK, some good and some not so good. This facility will be different as it not only draws from the expertise and opportunities provided by its partnership with Hadlow, but also works with the pet industry to help solve the inevitable outcome of pet ownership; animals that need a new home. 
 
“Although reptiles and amphibians account for only a small percentage of the pets that need to be found a new home each year, compared to dogs and cats for example, there is a need that requires addressing.”
 
OPPORTUNITY 
 
Tim Wass MBE, of The Pet Charity and former chief officer of the RSPCA, said: “ When the opportunity arose to develop this centre, the board of The Pet Charity were unanimous in its support for the project. There has never been a project like this, that can make a real difference to animal welfare now and in the future by drawing on the experience of so many people. Although ultimately its future will rely on the generosity of the public for its ongoing success, we felt that it deserved the initial funding we provided.”
 
Pets At Home donated many of the vivariums as they were being removed from stores. In a statement Pets At Home stated that it was ‘delighted that the vivariums and associated equipment could be recycled for such a worthy cause’.
 
The NCRW will have an official opening in the Autumn.