How Wildlife SOS’ Simon Cowell Started The Wildlife Aid Foundation
After suffering a nervous breakdown in his City job, Simon Cowell went from saving Wildlife in his Family Kitchen to dealing with 20,000 emergency calls a year with his Charity, the Wildlife Aid Foundation in Leatherhead and presenting Channel 5’s Wildlife SOS.
Watch our Wildlife Aid Foundation Video on YouTube.
After leaving his career in the city, Simon started the Wildlife Aid Foundation, a charity which has been rescuing animals in Leatherhead, Surrey for over 30 years.
How did the Wildlife Aid Foundation begin?
The foundation had small beginnings; the first animals were cared for in Simon's family home.
“It started in the very first days in the kitchen, I mean that's where everything was… I grew up in Dr Doolittle's waiting room! I think we actually had Owls on the curtain rails and ducks in the bath, hedgehogs in the airing cupboard, birds on the side dresser of the kitchen” - Lou Cowell, Simon’s Daughter and now Deputy CEO of the Wildlife Aid Foundation.
Where does the wildlife come from?
After that “it just got massive”, many people will bring animals directly to the Foundation’s headquarters in Leatherhead but Simon and his team also respond to SOS calls. This could include anything from “animals stuck in fences, animals stuck in football nets… you name it and we've probably rescued it [from] swimming pools, from down chimneys, every single thing you can imagine I bet we've done it some time in our life!”
The Foundation in Leatherhead is still based at Simon’s family home but unlike the early days, the team have since grown the facilities. They now have rooms designed to keep owls, squirrel aviaries, a large barn for badgers and foxes and much more. These facilities allow for the least human contact possible so the wildlife in the Foundation’s care do not become imprinted, and reliant on humans. This way Simon and his team can release the wildlife back in Surrey in the best shape possible.
Why Is The Wildlife Aid Foundation So Important?
“Millions of animals in Britain are injured as a result of direct contact with humans”, Vet Maru García says, “one of the most common ones I would say, are road traffic accidents.”
Nick Harding, trustee of the Wildlife Aid Foundation says the UK’s native wildlife relies on such organisations to survive, “there was a big report a couple of years ago, ‘The State Of Nature Report’ which listed the UK as one of the most nature depleted countries in in the world.”
The Wildlife Aid Foundation has been releasing animals for four decades thanks to Simon's commitment and dedication.
“He's an incredibly dedicated man, his DNA runs through the Wildlife Aid Foundation… he has devoted his whole life to wildlife, it's amazing”
Simon Cowell recently won a Local Heroes Award presented by Surrey and Hampshire’s local radio station Eagle Radio for his dedication to saving local wildlife. The above documentary was made by Greer Riddell for Eagle Radio to celebrate Simon’s achievements.
Wildlife Aid Foundation Leatherhead Simon Cowell Wildlife SOS