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Thieves steal 30-year-old Shetland pony from animal sanctuary

This is Eric, a 30-year-old Shetland pony, stolen from Dorney Animal Sanctuary in Lake End Road, Taplow.

Sanctuary staff noticed Eric missing when they went to check on him at 7am this morning and are desperate for him to be returned.

They are increasingly worried as he has a broken shoulder and needs regular medication. Eric's stable friend is also very distraught as they have been together for a long time.

Staff are desperate for Eric to be returned home Credit: Thames Valley Police

Staff and police believe that Eric was stolen between 1am and 7am.

Eric is approx 3ft, chestnut and white in colour and has a freeze marking on his back.

Anyone with information should call PCSO Kiffin on 101.


Injured cat survives 130-mile trip inside car engine

Rigby endured the four-hour journey Credit: RSPCA

A black car called Rigby has survived a 130-mile journey inside a car engine. He has a fractured pelvis.

The cat was found curled up in a corner of the engine after the vehicle was placed on a ramp at a garage in Kidlington, Oxfordshire.

RSPCA animal collection officer Dennis Lovell was called by the staff and he traced Rigby’s owner to Eastbourne, East Sussex, where it is suspected he was hit by a car five days beforehand.

I was shocked to hear that the car had come all the way from Eastbourne. Poor Rigby must have endured a four-hour journey in that engine - which can’t have been very popular.

“I arrived at the garage and it was tricky to get him out as he was very nervous, but eventually I managed to coax him and was relieved to see him in one piece.”

It was soon clear that Rigby, 11 years old, was in some discomfort so he was taken to Chipping Norton Vets for treatment.

Dennis added: “The vets discovered poor Rigby had a fractured pelvis. We can only assume he had been hit by a car back home in Eastbourne, and scrambled up into the car engine to hide away. It was a twist of fate that the vehicle happened to be a hire car, which was then transported 130 miles away to Oxfordshire!”

As Rigby was microchipped, Dennis was able to contact his owners.

RSPCA appeal after spaniels found dead in ditch

One of the dogs was still alive and twitching Credit: RSPCA

The RSPCA is asking for the public's help after four newborn puppies were found in a ditch.

The tiny spaniel crosses, thought to be just days old, were found by a passing member of the public in a ditch next to a little lane behind Benyon Primary School on Tyssen Place, South Ockendon on Saturday, 4 October.

Three were dead, but one was described as alive and twitching when found. Sadly by the time an RSPCA inspector arrived they were all dead. The puppies still had their umbilical cords attached.

This was a truly heartbreaking incident. The sight of these little bodies will not leave me for quite a while.

They were soaking wet despite warm dry weather that day, and one possibility is that the puppies were drowned before being placed in the ditch - a horrible way to die.

It seems likely that they had not been there that long by the state of the bodies - and the reports that one was moving, when found.

– RSPCA Inspector Caroline Richardson-Braun

Endangered baby monkey named by the public

Indah is starting to explore her new home at Marwell Zoo Credit: Natasha Jeffries

A critically endangered eight week old monkey has finally been given her name after members of the public voted.

Marwell Zoo’s adorable Sulawesi-crested macaque has been named Indah!

Indah is now starting to explore her new home with a watchful eye from mum and dad.

Born to mum, Drusilla and dad, Douglas, This is the first macaque born at Marwell for 10 years.

Sulawesi-crested macaques (Macaca nigra) are the most endangered of the seven macaque species found on the island of Sulawesi.

In the wild they live in tropical rainforests and mangrove swamp areas on the Northern Peninsula of the Indonesian island.

The animals face many threats in the wild - one of them is over hunting for food, as they are considered a delicacy in areas of Sulawesi.

“Thank you to all who have voted to help us name our exciting new arrival. The winning name was selected by one of our keepers and means beautiful in Indonesian. She is settling in really well to the group and is at the stage in her development where she is confident to explore.

“Under the watchful eye of mum Drusilla, she can be seen regularly running around and attempting to climb. Her sweet and playful nature has won the hearts of the entire team and visitors alike!”

– Claire Mound, Team Leader of Primates and Small Mammals

African bull elephant arrives at Kent animal park

Coco arrived from Cabarceno National Park in Spain Credit: Howletts Wild Animal Park

Keepers at an animal park in Kent are celebrating the arrival of Coco, the African bull elephant.

Coco who's 15 arrived at Howletts from Cabarceno National Park in Spain. His arrival is part of an international breeding programme, which saw the park's other male elephant, Jums, travelling to a new home in Spain.

"The elephant transfer went very smoothly. We’re sure that Coco will eventually settle in well with our established herd and will become a firm favourite with our visitors. I’m delighted to confirm that Jums has also settled in very well at Cabarceno. International breeding programmes like these are vital for the health and welfare of our elephants and help to secure the future of the species. We’re going to let Coco settle in and get used to his new surroundings, then we plan to introduce him to the herd here. I think the females will love him."

– Neil Spooner, Animal Director
It's hoped Coco will be a hit with the female elephants Credit: Howletts Wild Animal Park

Coco was born on the 14th June in 2000 and he's already successfully mated several females at his former home in Spain.

Keepers at Howletts are hoping he'll be a hit with the female herd, so they can continue their impressive breeding record with African elephants.

"Coco is already settling in well at Howletts. I think that our females Jama and Jara will be particularly interested in getting to know him. They are both excellent mothers to the younger members of the herd and will soon be ready to start families of their own."

– Natalie Boyd, Head of Elephant Section


Cat rescue centre in urgent appeal for new premises

A cat rescue centre in Sussex has launched an urgent appeal to help find new premises.

Ron Ayres has run the shelter from his rented home in Brighton for fifteen years. Lost Cats Brighton cares for and re-homes around two hundred cats each year.

But Mr Ayres, 77, has now been diagnosed with lung cancer, and he fears for the future of the animals unless a more permanent location can be found.

Malcolm Shaw spoke to Ron, and volunteer Fiona Pearce.

lIf you think you can help, you will find more details here.

Cat crisis for the man who cares for 250 felines a year

He's provided a loving home for thousands of unwanted cats for the last 15 years. But now a charity worker is urgently seeking help after he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Ron Ayres runs the rescue centre from his rented home in Brighton and cares for up 250 cats each year. Today he said he fears for the future, and the animals, unless new premises can be found.

Tiny new attractions at aquarium

One of the seven baby spiny spider crabs Credit: Blue Reef Aquarium

Aquarists at Portsmouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium have successfully reared seven baby spiny spider crabs for the first time.

It’s highly unusual for crabs to be raised in captivity and staff at the Southsea wildlife attraction are delighted with their seven newborn crustaceans.

The tiny crabs were raised from eggs produced by a female which was given to the aquarium.

Blue Reef Aquarium’s Martyn Chandler said: “They begin life as minuscule, free swimming larvae and this is the most risky stage in their development.

“They are so small that it is difficult to get them to feed, and they are also vulnerable to predators and other spider crabs."

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