How we started
The Centre started in 1988, when the RSPCA, along with Greenpeace, responded to the seal distemper virus which struck common seals in the North Sea.
An emergency seal assessment centre was set up in Docking, Norfolk, in a disused bus shelter, provided free of charge by the West Norfolk and King’s Lynn Borough Council.
After this emergency, the RSPCA continued to treat sick and injured seals and started to take in other British wildlife.
Move to new premises
In 1992, we moved to our permanent site at East Winch, and became known as the RSPCA Norfolk Wildlife Hospital. Our facilities and workload increased dramatically following the move.
The Centre is renowned for its care of orphaned, sick or injured seals. Centre staff developed a great deal of expertise during the seal distemper virus epidemics of 1988 and 2002.
The Centre does, however, treat all species of British wildlife, with birds making up 80% of our casualties.
Vets are part of our team of trained and dedicated personnel. Staff need to have a detailed knowledge and wide experience of wildlife care, rehabilitation and post-release monitoring. We are very lucky to have a team of dedicated volunteers who regularly come along to work at the Centre.
Our work today – emphasis on post-release monitoring
Rehabilitation skills are constantly reviewed and developed, resulting in care of the highest quality. In 2003, following a review of the previous 10 years, it was decided that it was time to place a greater emphasis on the final stage of the rehabilitation work – to find out more about how the animals behave and integrate after release.
* Our public line is only answered during office hours - for emergencies after office hours please call our National call centre on 0300 1234 999