voco® Oxford Thames Helping to  Save Local Owls

Food / Going Out / Oxford / Oxfordshire

voco® Oxford Thames Helping to Save Local Owls

voco Oxford Thames announced it is partnering with Chrissie’s Owl sanctuary to support conservation efforts in protecting the local owl population. The partnership will provide much-needed resources to help with essential maintenance and upkeep of the sanctuary, and hotel guests may spot an owl or two around the hotel grounds.

In November, vocoOxford Thames installed owl nesting boxes within the hotel gardens to create a safe breeding ground for the birds. At Chrissie’s Owls, the hotel will provide materials to replace the existing aviaries giving the rescued birds a more secure, weather resistant home. Additionally, Chrissie’s rescue vehicle will be fully serviced so she can continue to respond to emergency callouts, and release birds back into the wild from where they were rescued. The biggest expense is feeding all the rescue birds, so voco Oxford Thames will cover the cost of a year’s worth of bird food.

Plaques around the hotel grounds will provide detail about the partnership and information about these nocturnal wonders. Guests are encouraged to visit Chrissie’s Owls during their stay in Oxford where they can learn about owls and other birds of prey the team care for, with opportunity to handle the birds.

The UK’s third voco™ property, which reopened its doors following a conversion in July 2019, is set amongst 30 acres of beautiful parkland and is a haven for local wildlife and animals. A distinguishable marker of the voco brand is its three hallmark mascots, each one representing a different element of the hotel guest experience. One of the mascots is the notable owl, representing ‘Me Time’ – cosy bedrooms, luxurious amenities and a relaxing environment. As one of its brand emblems, voco Oxford Thames instinctively wanted to help protect these birds.

Elle Garner, General Manager, voco Oxford Thames said: “As a new brand, sustainability is a fundamental part of our approach to business. Not just inside the hotel with reduced single-use plastic, and recycled bedding, but also the positive impact we can have within our local community. As a symbol of our guest experience, protecting owls in partnership with Chrissie’s Owls ensures guests will continue to see owls outside of the hotel, as well as in. They rescue up to 100 owls a year making this an incredible cause to support.”

Chrissie Harper, Founder of Chrissie’s Owls said: “Caring for the owls and other birds of prey, as I have done for over 20 years, comes with considerable expense. We have over forty owls here currently that have been rescued from bad homes, hit by a car, or eaten a poisoned rodent – there are some very sad stories, and we do our best for them all. The support from voco® Oxford Thames will have a huge impact on my ability to rescue and rehabilitate the birds. As a small, local charity, it’s one of the most significant donations we’ve ever received.”

Over the past decade, the British Trust for Ornithology Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) recorded a 63% decline in Barn Owl sightings which further reinforced the decision by the hotel to help this suffering species. Year on year, the UK is seeing a rapid decline in the number of owl sightings, with the number of nesting pairs in 2016 down 6% on the all-year average. Species from hedgehogs to skylarks and birds of prey are being wiped out – numbers of grey partridges, corn buntings and tree sparrows have dropped by at least 90% in 40 years, leaving them all at risk of vanishing from the UK, according to the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs.

Being on the River Thames, wildlife plays an important role at voco Oxford Thames. Each Spring, the Crusaders Courtyard offers a safe environment for parent ducks to bring up their young before they take their first paddle in the Thames. With the introduction of two bee colonies earlier this year, not only is the hotel helping to provide a home for bees, but in the near future, the honey will become an important ingredient on the restaurant menu.

Furthermore, as part of the hotel’s sustainability credentials, all bedding is made from 100% recycled materials, glass water bottles replace over 300 plastic bottles in every guest room per year and aerated shower heads reduce bathroom water usage. In addition, miniature toiletry bottles have been replaced with large-format Aveda bottles, and plastic straws have been swapped for a biodegradable alternative.

Chrissie’s Owls is truly committed to the care and conservation of native species of owls and the rescue and rehabilitation of all injured owls and birds of prey. To find out more about Chrissie’s Owls, visit: http://www.chrissiesowls.com/

To learn more about voco visit: www.vocohotels.com.  

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