A BELOVED animal sanctuary is searching for a new home for around 130 deer in South Somerset.

Mike Gage has run the South West Deer Rescue Centre for 13 years, based on a farm near Crewkerne.

He had an agreement to use the site for free, and over the next decade was allowed to expand to around 35 acres.

The recent years have seen Mike and his team of volunteers hold successful open days with hundreds of attendees, and a starring slot on BBC’s Countryfile.

But this year has already been a struggle for Mike. Covid-19 has meant the deer park has not been able to have any visitors.

Groups taking tours around the site are Mike’s only income for the park, and all the money goes on keeping the deer fed and cared for.

A JustGiving campaign raised £3,000, which gave Mike and his team a chance of lasting through this winter.

But now, the family who own the farm have decided they would like the use of their land again, and Mike has been given until October 1 to find an alternative arrangement.

Mike said: “I am putting out feelers and trying to find somewhere that can take the deer.

“At the moment I have had some offers, but they are only like eight acres and for a year, and we really need a lng term solution.

“I have been going round various farmers, and some will take a few, but its not really what I want.”

The South West Deer Rescue Centre is currently home to around 130 deer, including 10 babies.

The site includes five different species of deer - Red, Sika, Axis, Muntjac and Fallow.

Michael Mayles is the park volunteer who set up the JustGiving page.

After the news that the future of the site was at risk, Michael felt he had to offer the donors a refund.

Instead, he received another £1,000 from people wanting to help save Mike’s park.

Mr Mayles said: “This has obviously thrown up a lot of problems and questions as to what happens next.

“For the moment, I can say that the wheels are turning and looking for solutions.”

The rescue centre is appealing to anyone who help, including landowners willing to help. If you can, call Mike on 01460 64174.