Snapping turtles, seals, badgers, hares, pigeons, gulls and hedgehogs are just some of the weird and wonderful wildlife that 37-year-old Rachel Wilson has been called about in the last year. 

After graduating from Kendal College with a degree in British Animal Management and Wildlife Rehabilitation on July 19 2023, she set up Rachel's Wildlife which has grown exponentially.

Now, coming up to the year's anniversary, Rachel's hard work hasn't gone unnoticed and she been nominated in the Love Barrow Awards for 2025.

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Rachel said: "What a year we have had at Rachel’s Wildlife. Never in a million years did I expect it to take off the way it has.

"In the short time we have seen such a mix, from my very first badger on my birthday, to a call out to a snapping turtle in Urswick Tarn, which we were unable to attend, to swans, hedgehogs, hares, gull chicks - so many gull chicks.

"We have seen a wide variety in such a short period of time. Working together with other local rescues, and veterinary practices it has been an amazing opportunity bringing them together and working alongside one another compared to working against each other.

"Last week we were totally blown away that a very kind follower has nominated us for the Love Barrow Awards - which we are very proud and humbled by."

(Image: Rachel's Wildlife) Rachel's role has been quite demanding physically, financially and emotionally. 

Working alongside other rescues such Bardsea Bird Sanctuary and Cumbria Animal and Hen Rescue, she can be called out last minute to complex rescues such as wading into waters to untangle birds.

She often patrols the wildfowl at Barrow Park, Ormsgill Reservoir and Ulverston canal.

She never knows what she may get next as was the case when her expertise was called upon in February for Fluffy, the alligator snapping turtle discovered in the shallow waters of Urswick Tarn.

Luckily, Rachel didn't have to attend as parish councillor Denise Chamberlain, who happened to have kept tortoises and previously lived in Florida, managed to fish Gluffy out with a shopping basket.

It's often unusual resources such as these that have to be used by animal rescuers and more supplies are needed all the time.

Cumbria Animal and Hen Rescue has helped Rachel expand her enclosures to deal with the increasing demand.

(Image: Rache's Wildlife)

re land and build more enclosures to keep up with demand.Rachel added: "So many times, this year we have been bursting at the seams and already having to expand our facilities to keep up with demand and now looking for volunteers to help out with transport, the upkeep of our social media and helping with rescuing and rehabilitating.

"Over the summer we are hosting a few events with the wildlife talks across the Furness area including a big opportunity for young conservationists looking to gain experience in their dream job."

Building on her experience as a former Information Officer at Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Rachel has managed to keep her weekly wildlife club going alongside her rescuing.

(Image: Rachel's Wildlife) Her work has also seen the added role of 'detective' as she often has to recognise signs and trends in the more sinister elements of wildlife management such as in animal cruelty or bird flu 

As a qualified marine mammal medic, she often monitors the impact of human interference on wildlife such as on the grey seal colony at South Walney Nature Reserve.

Resources and volunteers  are always needed for Rachel's Wildlife, so to find out more, including the rescue's Amazon, wish list, please visit the Facebook page.