‘Away in a manger, no crib for His bed’. Many generations of school children have sung this carol when re-enacting the Bethlehem scene. Mary is resting on straw bedding, her child Jesus lying in a manger with three wise men at his side; their camels tethered outside. Only the domestic animals close to the manger give warmth in the stable, all of them in a room without a roof and under a starry night sky.
This idyllic scene was brought to mind when Pauline Kidner of Secret World gave a talk on her life with wild animals for 26 years, to an attentive U3A audience this afternoon.
From small beginnings of this and that, at a dairy farm, and with no prior knowledge Pauline built up her expertise with the help of a local farmer. Deer, badgers, fox cubs, Hedgehogs and even Porpoises were sent to Pauline and her staff. They don’t hold back in bringing them every attention to restore their health but sadly not all animals were able to be saved. The audience were surprised to learn that vets were not trained to tend to wild animals as it was uneconomic! Pauline hopes to remedy that with a veterinary school exclusively for wild animals and has started asking for donations. The talk ended with questions on the case for Badger culling. Pauline said if the shooting of Badgers was the answer to stop the spread of TB she would be 100% behind it but believes it does not. She tests her badgers for TB and those who are clear are vaccinated before release. We all enjoyed an interesting and informative talk from Pauline and gave her a hearty hand clap.