Wayne May: Pet Detective

PUBLISHED: 12:13 07 February 2013

Wayne May

Wayne May


If there’s an animal in trouble, call on Wayne May

Wayne MayWayne May

Wayne May isn’t quite the eccentric Hawaiian shirt-wearing character that Jim Carrey plays in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, but there is some similarity.

When there’s a wild or exotic animal injured or in need of rescuing, Wayne is the go-to guy in north Kent. He says he started his life being with animals, and through the years has made a name for himself as the expert.

His farm in Farningham is like a hostel for injured creatures to get back on their legs – which might be multiple.

Last week he had a swan, two coots, a moorhen and 18 mallard ducks all residing there after he had rescued them.

Pygmy hedgehogPygmy hedgehog

The swan had been found on the side of the road waddling around in a daze after being hit by a lorry.

A call came through to Wayne and he drove out to take it to a vet and, when no severe injuries were detected except slight concussion, he kept the swan with him until it was ready to be released back into the wild.

He also recently rescued an abandoned horse, took a micro pig into his care when the owner wasn’t able to look after it, and came to the rescue when a child found a scorpion in a sandpit.

“I get called out by the police and by different councils. As you get more well known people come to you. I try to nurse them back to health and if they need ongoing care they will stay with me,” he says.

As well as the various animals taken under his wing, Wayne also spends his time preserving a nearly forgotten breed of goat.

A goat breeder for almost 20 years, five years ago he was offered one of the rare Arapawa goats.

He is now the largest breeder of Arapawas in the UK but numbers are low – he owns about half of the 70 or so – making them one of the most endangered species, he says.

Wayne is on a mission to keep the breed going hundreds of years after it left our shores for New Zealand.

“If you go back in history the goats originate here, but it is said Captain Cook took some on his trips around the world and gave some to New Zealand as a gift where they lived for hundreds of years on Arapawa Island. The first time they set foot back in the UK was in 2004,” Wayne explains.

Having been left alone to nature’s way for more than two centuries, it was a case of survival of the fittest, which has important implications for other goat breeds.

“They are invaluable for DNA because they are almost disease-free. They don’t suffer common diseases that goats normally have. There could be real benefits for breeding,” he says.

Wayne has completed the first breed registry for the Arapawa which lists every one in the UK and traces its ancestry, allowing goat breeders to do selective breeding thereby increasing the gene pool and conserving the species.

His conservation work doesn’t stop at goats. He also has a flock of Ouessant sheep, one of the smallest breeds of sheep in the world, growing to a maximum 18 inches tall, and a bunch of African pygmy hedgehogs, currently on loan to a Scout group learning about looking after animals.

His organisation, Artisan Rarebreeds, is now a registered charity that runs entirely on public donations, which he says all goes to the animals that need it.

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