Throughout the years, the Natuurhelpcentrum has always been renovating and expanding. The latest expansion dates from 2007, when we were able to buy a house with a large garden. The house was sold, but the surrounding ground of about 0.5 ha was completely equipped for the accommodation of wild animals.
There are three spacious polyvalent outside cages that are suitable for indigenous as well as exotic animals.
One of the cages was specifically set up as a readaptation cage for young squirrels. In this cage the youngsters learn how to forage independently before their reintroduction back into the wild. When they are old and fit enough, we open the door, thus allowing the squirrels to take their first steps into the wild. During the first weeks however, they will be allowed back into the cage to eat. After their departure we will provide feeding grounds in the surrounding wooded area. From here, the squirrels will be able to disperse gradually into the nearby park Hoge Kempen (a nature reserve).
Furthermore, there is a piece of woodland for the readaptation of deer before releasing them into the wild. When we raise young deer they slowly have to become shy again. For this end we fenced off a piece of woods.
On the former lawn of the garden we installed 2 large fenced stretches of grass. A few months after the opening of this new site, we converted one of these large runs into a “large predator cage”. This impressive construction is built to accommodate the most dangerous and strong predators (lions, tigers, bears,). Live wire has been added to the 3m high fence, and a metal net was placed on the roof, so that the cage can be used as an accommodation for apes or birds.
The Natuurhulpcentrum is enclosed by residential and industrial areas and nature reserve. The only large expansion possibilities are the grounds of the technical department of the municipality of Opglabbeek, which will become available in a few years when the technical department will move to another location. This is a unique opportunity we cannot pass over and in as many ways as possible we are trying to gather means to buy these grounds.
The firm of Lambert Geerkens manufactured the fencing for the new grounds at a very favourable price, for which we thank them!