Birds of prey centre in Horsham in 'desperate need of repair' as owner appeals for help

WATCH: ITV News Meridian's Kit Bradshaw reports from Horsham, West Sussex

An award-winning Sussex animal sanctuary – home to bald eagles and critically endangered saker falcons – is asking for the public's help to allow it to undertake a major renovation.

Huxley's Birds of Prey Centre, in Horsham, is hoping to raise £10,000 for much-needed upgrades to its animal enclosures, some of which have not changed much since the attraction first opened in 1993.

Luke Lloyd, who owns and runs the not-for-profit business said: “A lot of the aviaries are in desperate need of repair – redoing essentially – because the wood is rotting.

“We need to make sure they’re reconstructed properly, so they’re longer lasting. We’re looking at increasing the sizes of some of the enclosures, looking at the welfare of some of our animals.”

The birds of prey centre is home to more than 100 animals, including a 46-year-old owl.

The centre, located on the same site as Hillier Garden Centre on Brighton Road, is hoping to enlarge existing enclosures and construct additional ones, allowing them to introduce new species.

It’s hoped that the online public fundraising appeal will help pay for enhanced CCTV systems, to keep the animals safe but also to offer the public the chance to watch some of the birds live online.

The newest residents are 12 meerkats, who arrived in April this year and are proving popular with visitors. Among the birds on show are falcons, eagles, hawks, buzzards, owls and vultures.

Luke Lloyd added: “All the animals have their different characters. Every day is a learning day. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve done falconry or worked with birds of prey for 20 or 30 years, you can still learn something.”

The centre was founded by bird enthusiast Julian Ford, who died in 2021 and is named after Huxley the owl, who is the oldest animal on-site at 46 years old.

The centre has set up an online fundraising page for donations to its appeal.

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