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New sanctuary for wild animals at De Helderse Vallei

Good news for birds and other wild animals in and around Den Helder: the first spades have gone into the ground to start building a new wildlife sanctuary in Den Helder! On Wednesday 7 October 2020, Alderman Remco Duijnker and Katelijne van Spronsen, the executive director of Wildopvang De Helderse Vallei Foundation, signed the service provision agreement for the wildlife sanctuary.

The bird sanctuary located on Jan Verfailleweg in Den Helder, Vogelasiel De Paddestoel, has been plagued by various problems for years, both financial and related to accommodation for the animals. Giving wild animals a refuge in the outdated and dilapidated old building was only possible thanks to the almost limitless efforts of staff and volunteers, and the many charitable donations made by concerned citizens and companies. So the parties involved - the board and staff of De Paddestoel and De Helderse Vallei and the municipality of Den Helder - very much welcome this major step towards a stable future for wild animal welfare in the city and surrounding region.

Alderman Duijnker: ‘What a great milestone; our efforts will result in excellent care for the wild animals. We have funding available, a purpose-built sanctuary for the animals is under construction and we have set up an effective organisation together. Not only the animals will benefit: our residents will also have the opportunity of enjoying this development.’

Katelijne van Spronsen, executive director of De Helderse Vallei and also the Wildopvang De Helderse Vallei Foundation: ‘We are proud to be given the opportunity of building a new wildlife sanctuary at our Visitor Centre. An important care task that will add a new dimension to our existing nature and sustainability education activities and programmes.’

In December 2019, the plan to build a new bird and wildlife sanctuary in the grounds of De Helderse Vallei was approved by the Municipal Council and the Mayor and Aldermen of the Municipality of Den Helder. In 2020, much time was devoted to making practical preparations and finalising the legal and contractual conditions. On 24 September 2020, Stichting Wildopvang De Helderse Vallei (De Helderse Vallei Wildlife Sanctuary Foundation) was formally established. The Vogelasiel De Paddestoel association will be dissolved in the near future, following the move to the new location. From that time on, the new foundation will be responsible for providing a refuge for wildlife and coordinating educational programmes on wild animals and their habitats.

More information about the current bird sanctuary is available on the website of Vogelasiel De Paddestoel.

Click here for our information leaflet, the 'Wildlife sanctuary in pictures' and here for a short video about the first phases for creating the new wildlife sanctuary in Den Helder.

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Purpose of the Wildlife Sanctuary
The purpose of the Wildlife Sanctuary is to provide shelter and rehabilitation facilities for native animal species that are temporarily unable to care for themselves, so that the animal can be returned to the wild after recovery.

The duty of care provided for in the Dutch Nature Conservation Act (Section 1.11 and Section 3) and the Dutch Animals Act (Section 2.1) establishes the legal basis for our work. The Animals Act requires everyone, i.e. every citizen, to provide care for an animal in need of help. Keeping and caring for wildlife requires a permit (which a wildlife sanctuary has), citizens can help by protecting wildlife and bringing sick/injured animals to the sanctuary for appropriate care.

De Helderse Vallei has been realized thanks to the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe invests in rural areas.