The Animal Charity Coming to the Aid of the Wild

Published: 1 May 2023

Hundreds of thousands of wild animals have been saved over the decades, thanks to the dedicated work of Wildlife Aid Foundation (WAF) and its founder Simon Cowell.

Started in 1980, the charity works tirelessly to treat injured and abandoned wildlife animals and return them to their habitat. A Lifeline IT client for four years, we chat to Simon about WAF’s work, plans for the future and the importance of educating the public about wildlife.

Wildlife Aid Foundation (WAF) - rescue animals: hedgehog and fox cub

Why did you found WAF and what does the charity do?

I’ve always loved animals and I originally wanted to be a vet but I knew I wasn’t really clever enough. I’d been a commodities broker and in 1980 when I left London I decided to start a small organisation helping wild animals. It just grew from there and in 1987 we decided to become a registered charity.

Wildlife Aid Foundation is one of the UK’s busiest wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centres, dealing with more than 20,000 wildlife-related incidents each year. We only have a small team of six, including two full time vets, but we have around 400 incredible volunteers – without them we would not be able to do what we do.

WAF also does a lot of work on education to help people understand and learn about the threats to wild animals and what we can do to help protect them and their habitat.

What kind of animals will come to WAF?

It really does vary. On any day our rescuers will be scaling trees to rescue stranded baby owls or cutting fox cubs free from garden netting, whilst our vets could be performing life-saving surgery on an injured bird or our carers could be treating a wounded badger.

All animals that come into our Surrey-based wildlife hospital are treated and rehabilitated completely free of charge and our aim is to return every animal that is capable of surviving back to its natural environment, as we do not believe it is the right to keep any wild animal in captivity.

We take animals from about a 40-mile radius, but we also advise vets from all over the UK and sometimes overseas on animals that have come into their care.

Are there particular times of the year that are busy?

From now until July is frenetic as it’s orphan season – mums may be killed or the young get lost and can’t find their way back to their mother. Also, as the weather gets better people are out in their gardens so more wildlife animals in need of help are being found.

We’re open from 9am to 10pm at night but also have emergency teams who work outside of our opening hours.

How important is IT to the charity?

Lifeline IT have been with us for about four years and what they do is vital – because we work 24/7 it’s so important that our systems are running properly. It there is a technical issue, Lifeline IT always make sure it is fixed quickly.

What are the future plans for WAF?

The charity needs to re-locate to a new centre, so we are desperate to raise funds for that, especially as building costs have increased so much since Covid and the war in Ukraine.

We also want to expand our education programme so more people understand the importance of wildlife – if we don’t have wildlife it really is a threat to us as human beings. 95% of the animals we get here are down to man’s actions – either directly or indirectly – so we want people to understand how their actions can have consequences for wildlife.

If you would like to donate to the Wildlife Aid Foundation or would like to find out more (including watching the charity’s fabulous live webcams showing animals being rehabilitated and cared for) go to




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We work with clients as partners. Our role is to:

  • Listen & learn
  • Give expert advice
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Adam Woolf, Director, Lifeline IT
Daniel Mitchell, Director, Lifeline IT
Meet the Team

Lifeline IT was founded by current owners Daniel Mitchell and Adam Woolf.

They remain actively involved in the delivery of our premium service together with the rest of the Lifeline IT team: managers, engineers and other support staff.

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