for native wildlife
Project: Our commitment to native wildlife
More and more native wild animals are getting into trouble. The reasons for this are manifold and mainly man-made.
Over the years, many wild animals have also moved into Gut Aiderbichl. The story behind each animal is quite individual. Some wild animals have already come to us as babies and have found a home for life at Gut Aiderbichl. Others are only temporary guests and can be released back into the wild. We pay special attention to our squirrels. You can find an overview of all the animals that live at Gut Aiderbichl here.
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Our project at a glance
Our commitment to native wildlife
Due to a wide variety of environmental degradation, more and more wildlife is becoming distressed. The reasons for this are manifold:
- Forest clearing, monocultures, building development or intensive agricultural use are damaging native species populations.
- Increasing automobile traffic poses a daily threat to wildlife.
- Pollution of the environment by residues of chemicals from production and use in agriculture and forestry also endanger plants and animals.
The aim of Gut Aiderbichl is to take in animals in distress and nurse them back to health. In some cases it is possible to release the animals back into the wild. At the same time, we would like to draw attention to the precarious situation of wild animals.
A wide variety of wild animal species live at Gut Aiderbichl. Many of them were lovingly raised by our employees with the bottle.
Squirrels that come to Gut Aiderbichl are released back into the wild. For this purpose, the squirrel reintroduction station at Gut Aiderbichl Henndorf was founded in 2021, together with Carmen Haslinger from "Eichhörnchenhilfe Salzburg". To protect the animals, Gut Aiderbichl works closely with "Eichhörnchenhilfe Salzburg" in Austria, and with Sabine Gallenberger from "Wildtierwaisen-Schutz e.V." in Germany.
We want to raise public awareness about the situation of wildlife.
We would like to pass on our knowledge about forest animals through the Gut Aiderbichl Academy. Among other things, Sabine Gallenberger from "Wildtierwaisen-Schutz e.V." offers online seminars that can be booked through Gut Aiderbichl. You can access the seminars here.
Wildlife habitat is threatened!
Our project - the whole story
Not only for the dormouse, but also for the squirrel, the increasing loss of old deciduous and mixed forests is dramatic. The trees are vital for the squirrels as a place to sleep and to raise their young. In addition, the good climbers on trees and branches are comparatively well protected from predators. A healthy little animal can leap back and forth between trees for about five meters - and can do what few other animals can: climb down a tree trunk head first. But small squirrels often fall during their first climbing attempts. Older animals often injure themselves, fleeing from predators such as the pine marten or birds of prey.
The seeds, shoots and buds of trees serve as food for the small rodents. If the forest consists too much of monocultures, the food selection of the squirrels decreases dramatically.
The construction of roads and residential areas also reduces the tree population. To make matters worse, increasing traffic makes crossing roads life-threatening for squirrels. The resulting noise pollution also has a negative effect on the small rodents. Therefore, it happens more and more often that squirrels ask us humans for help.
When squirrels ask for help
A squirrel always needs your help when it is easy to catch. Healthy squirrels are not so easy to catch. Squirrels that are down especially need immediate help. This also applies to squirrels that run after a human or try to climb up on him. Here you do not need to be afraid, because squirrels do not have rabies.
Carmen Haslinger from Austria, as well as her German colleague, Sabine Gallenberger, have been taking care of the small rodents in need of help for many years, and are on duty around the clock for the little animals. Injured animals and those in need of help come to them. The two experts offer first aid and nurse the small rodents, as well as other forest animals, back to health with much love and passion.
Louis the squirrel (see picture) is a symbol for many adult squirrels that Sabine Gallenberger and Carmen Haslinger take care of at home. The small rodent was hit by a car on the street and came to Sabine Gallenberger with severe injuries. It was only thanks to the expert's loving care that he survived the serious accident.
The Gut Aiderbichl Squirrel Release Station
It also happens time and again that baby squirrels lose their mother, or have fallen out of the nest, and find shelter with Carmen Haslinger or Sabine Gallenberger.
Shortly after birth, squirrels are about the size of a cork and still hairless. Their eyes and ears are closed.
Only at an age of 2-3 weeks the first hair fuzz begins to grow and also the lower incisors break through. After 5-6 weeks, the upper incisors also follow. At 7 weeks, the tail becomes bushier, and the rodents begin to eat solid foods, such as sunflower seeds. At 8 weeks, squirrel young are very active and play lively with their conspecifics and foster parents. This is the time when the squirrels are allowed to move to Gut Aiderbichl to the reintroduction station.
In our release station, the young animals stay until they are about 16 weeks old, and are then slowly released into the wild in groups in the forest. In the case of squirrels that are born late in the fall, release into the wild does not take place until spring, when the food supply is large enough again. Read more about the Gut Aiderbichl release station here.
Foxes are not endangered as an animal species per se. However, their natural habitat is. The natural environment of the nocturnal animals are forests and fields. Due to intensive agricultural use and the clearing of forests, more and more foxes have found their way into human settlement areas.
The biggest enemy of animals in urban habitats is traffic. It often happens that foxes are run over. There are many foxes living at Gut Aiderbichl that have already come to us as babies. What happened to their parents can only be guessed. After birth, little foxes are completely helpless and dependent on their mother's care. Our foundlings are lovingly bottle-fed and nursed back to health by our staff. Some of the native red foxes that live at Gut Aiderbichl were also found as adult foxes, badly injured, and received medical care on site.
The foxes at Gut Aiderbichl can no longer be released into the wild. They have become too accustomed to humans. They have forgotten or never learned how to hunt naturally. The danger of falling victim to a hunter is also too great for animals that are used to humans. They have therefore found a "forever home" at Gut Aiderbichl.
Humans are spreading their habitat more and more. By clearing, draining marshlands and adapting them for agriculture, we deprive the pigs of their natural livelihood. On these lands, conflicts with the bristly animals inevitably arise. In their search for food, wild boars repeatedly cause damage to fields and cultivated landscapes and are therefore not a welcome guest. For this reason, they are often still hunted today.
Many of the animals at Gut Aiderbichl were already found and cared for by humans when they were young. Nevertheless, wild pigs, unlike their relatives the domestic pigs, are still wild animals and are not suitable as pets. When no one wants to or can take care of them anymore, their path leads them to Gut Aiderbichl, because releasing rescued wild pigs into the wild is not a good idea. They have gotten to know people at their best and have thus lost their fear of hunters. That is why we also keep wild boars with us until the natural end of their lives.
Humans have also deprived red deer of a large part of their natural habitat. Many forests in Europe are used for forestry operations. For this industry, the deer represents a pest, because red deer like to eat the buds of young trees, thus slowing their growth. In winter, the animals also peel the bark from the trees. This allows fungi to enter the wood, causing it to lose its economic value. For this reason, deer are often hunted and chased out of wooded areas. The increasing asphalting and cutting of the landscape with roads also causes problems for the red deer. Through fenced highways, concreted banks and other obstacles, the red deer can no longer migrate.
Gut Aiderbichl is home to several representatives of the red deer. They have come to Gut Aiderbichl for a variety of reasons, but even with them, reintroduction is not possible. They have already become too accustomed to humans.
Problematic for dormice is the increasing loss of old deciduous and mixed forests. The trees are vital as a sleeping place and food source for the dormouse. For the most part, it feeds on acorns, beech bark and tree bark. If the mixed forests are missing, the animal also lacks its food. But not only the clearing of the forests is a problem for the dormouse. With humans he is not a welcome guest. Often it is mistaken for a mouse and dies an agonizing death in mouse traps or is poisoned. If a wounded dormouse is found, it is often nursed back to health by Sabine Gallenberger and then released back into the wild.
Increasing monocultures in agriculture are a major problem for the brown hare. The brown hare depends on varied food such as wild herbs. In addition, tall grasses offer it protection from predators. In monotonous intensive agriculture, most field margins have disappeared. Thus, it is at the mercy of foxes, martens, wild boars, ravens and birds of prey, as well as cold and wet conditions.
Many young hares do not survive the first weeks. They fall victim to stray cats or dogs or literally get under the wheels of agricultural machinery. The construction of new roads and housing developments also not only make the habitat of the brown hare controversial, but also make it more dangerous: many hares are hit by cars.
Injured hares often come to Sabine Gallenberger. She nurses them back to health and then releases them back into the wild.
They provide first aid for wildlife
PORTRAIT CARMEN HASLINGER
Carmen Haslinger is the founder of "Eichhörnchenhilfe Salzburg" and has been caring for rodents in need for many years. In her sanctuary in Großgmain, she and her family care for up to 100 squirrels per year. The goal is to release the animals back into the wild. To this end, Carmen Haslinger works closely with the reintroduction station at Gut Aiderbichl. Some animals that are affected by paralysis or other disabilities, for example, are allowed to stay with Carmen Haslinger in the enclosures with large outdoor aviaries.
In Austria, "Eichhörnchenhilfe Salzburg" can be reached around the clock for squirrel emergencies at the toll-free number +43 650 7274355 (www. eichhoernchenhilfesalzburg.at).
PORTRAIT SABINE GALLENBAUER
Sabine Gallenberger grew up with animal welfare, and has been in close contact with Gut Aiderbichl for years. Sixteen years ago, Sabine got Lilly the squirrel, which a neighbor left her to raise. Other animals soon followed - in the end there were over 1,000 forest animals raised by Sabine and her parents on the outskirts of Munich. She was able to save thousands more animals by setting up a foster home network. For her achievement, Sabine was awarded the Bavarian Animal Welfare Prize.
Sabine would like to pass on her knowledge about forest animals and offers online seminars that can be booked with her personally or through Gut Aiderbichl. Here you can get to the seminar.
For squirrel emergencies in Germany, you can reach Sabine Gallenberger at +49 173 353 74 15 (www.eichhoernchen-infos.de)