A BIRD sanctuary in a desperate fight for survival with just weeks left to raise thousands has been backed by a TV presenter.

Bird Aid saw an increase in donations after Chris Packham shared its JustGiving page on his Facebook page.

Despite the support from the naturalist, which saw donations “roll in”, Bird Aid’s future still hangs in the balance.

One of its former trustees decided they wanted their money returned after initially being willing to contribute funds.

As a result the sanctuary needs to at least raise another £7,000 to reach £85,000 and then potentially get a loan for the rest of the money to meet its £170,000 target.

The rescue centre in Hailsham, which has 16 aviaries for gulls, said it would be “unthinkable” if it was to close and would leave gulls in Sussex with “no help”.

Julia Gould, founder of Bird Aid, said she was trying to remain optimistic.

The Argus: Gulls in rehabilitation at Bird Aid. Picture by Claire Andrews.Gulls in rehabilitation at Bird Aid. Picture by Claire Andrews.

She said: “You have to be hopeful to keep going don’t you? We have had a lot of support from the Brighton area because most of the birds we get in are from that area.

“Whatever you think of gulls, there are literally thousands of people every year who phone up for help with gulls. So if every one of those people find there is no one to help, that’s going to be a huge blow.

“We keep going because it’s unthinkable that there would literally be thousands of birds left with no help. We need other people to realise the seriousness.”

Herring gulls are on the Birds of Conservation Concern 4 (BoCC 4) red list, while nine other species of gull are on the amber list.

The Argus: The sanctuary has to keep many gulls for several months before they are ready for release. Picture by Claire Andrews.The sanctuary has to keep many gulls for several months before they are ready for release. Picture by Claire Andrews.

Julia said: “So we really need a big push to get to 50 per cent before the end of October ideally, then we might be in a position to take out a loan to give us more time.

“But we still have got to raise the full amount. If we get to 50 per cent, we might be in a position to buy a bit of time.

“I don’t want people to think that we’re so far off it’s not worth donating. Everything that people donate is adding up. We have got lots of people who have given a fiver or tenner, but if everyone did that, it would all add up.”

Bird Aid says its solicitors want a proposal to present to the former trustee at the start of November so it can meet the November 27 deadline.

The Argus: The sanctuary cares for other animals too.The sanctuary cares for other animals too.

Justin King, a volunteer for Bird Aid who rescues birds in the Brighton area, said while donations had rolled in since Chris Packham’s post, there was still a long way to go.

He added: “There is going to have to be [a future]. It is absolutely crucial that Bird Aid survives.

“We can’t overload other sanctuaries with these birds because they are always overloaded anyway.”

For more information on Bird Aid’s fight for survival, visit their donation page on Just Giving

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