RIAS is the Centre for the Recovery and Investigation of Wild Animals and is located in the heart of the Ria Formosa Natural Park in Olhão.
They work hard all year round to rescue, recuperate and then release wild animals back into nature again. But during the spring and summer they become inundated with a very special group of wild animals - baby birds and mammals.
But why do these animals come to them?
Well, in the case of birds, lots fall out of the nests on their first brave attempt at flight (a serious leap of faith you have to admit, that doesn’t always work out). In the wild it’s natural for their parents to continue to feed them on the ground until they are ready to try again (this time at a more suitable ‘beginner level’). However, in urban locations with roads and/or domestic animals that can injure them, they are normally left abandoned and unprotected and so it becomes necessary to send them to RIAS where they have more chance of survival. Here they play the role of parents - feeding and nurturing them until their feathers grow and enable them to, shall we say, ‘re-enroll in flight school’.
They also get lots of baby mammals like ‘ouriços-cacheiros’ (hedgehogs), ‘ginetas’ (genets) and ‘lontras’ (otters) that are found to be too thin and debilitated and do not have the capacity to survive on their own.
Here too, recovery involves providing adequate food and whenever possible fostering socialisation with other individuals of the same species. In the case of newborn creatures attention must be constant, which includes extra care both during the day and at night.
Over the years the centre has received more than 85 different species of offspring. The most common species include: the ‘andorinhão-preto’ (black swift), ‘pardal-comum’ (common sparrow), ‘andorinha dos beirais’
(house martin), ‘gaivota de patas amarelas’ (yellow legged gull), peneireiro vulgar (common kestrel), ‘cegonha branca’ (white stork), as well as getting various different kinds of ‘mochos’ (owls).
All in all, RIAS has already received a total of around 3,200 baby creatures from all over the Algarve and Baixo Alentejo. This corresponds to an average of more than 300 offspring a year, but remember they all come in the short interval of just five months (April to August) and so during this period it is common for them to have more than 50 babies in their care at the same time.
So this is why they are asking for donations to help. This large influx of animals arriving in this time period needs lots of special care and attention and at the moment - the nesting season - it is necessary to increase the team with two experienced people exclusively for the treatment of these animals. This is an extra investment in an already insufficient budget.
The money raised will also help with another important factor in the recovery of offspring, namely the provision of adequate food, dietary supplements and vitamins, all essential for a good development.
The funding to care for the young has in the past always been raised at their visitor reception center. However, in 2020, due to the pandemic, the donations obtained by the center were drastically reduced, thus compromising their ability to respond to the work required during the breeding season.
If you would like to donate to this truly worthy cause then consider visiting https://ppl.pt/causas/rias and help them get ready to assist the little baby creatures that will soon start arriving on their doorstep.