TREVOR WEEKS; No seasonal let-up for our busy volunteers

The female fox is in the care of East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS). Photo by WRAS SUS-161228-080223001

The female fox is in the care of East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS). Photo by WRAS SUS-161228-080223001

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Happy New year to you all. This Festive Period has been quite busy for WRAS.

Chris, Katie and I have taken turns in being on call over the past two weeks so that we can get a few days holiday and a break which is a rare thing for us. Between the three of us as the main employees, we didn’t take any of our holiday entitlement last year which has been our own choice because of how busy it has been and how committed we are to helping the wildlife of Sussex. 2016 saw us deal with 24% more casualties being admitted into our Casualty Centre than 2015.

That is more than 400 more casualties! Kathy and I rushed across to Deadmans Lane Rye on Friday last week to deal with a juvenile swan which had crash landed and was wandering into the main road. XA couple of hours earlier Sussex Police phoned reporting the swan but after a local police unit attended and couldn’t find the Swan a local RSPCA officer was stood down.

However after 10pm neither the police nor RSPCA were able to attend so WRAS drove the hour drive across to meet the kind people who waited keeping the Swan safe. The swan which appears to have damaged his breast bone was taken to WRAS’S Casualty Centre where he saw the New Year in before being released down at Princes Park’s non-territorial flock of swans. We also had an issue with a swan being hit by a car in Eastbourne between Christmas and New Year. Rescuers rushed to Eastbourne but the swan could not be found. It is believed by the caller that the car purposefully struck the swan on Tuesday last week.

A couple of days later reports came in of a swan at Rotunda Road where rescuers found it in trouble. Rescuers Chris and Laura used nets and a Swan hook to contain her to a small section of the river behind Rotunda Road so that Chris could catch her. On examination it was clear she had a nasty fracture to the leg and multiple abrasions. The Swan was rushed to WRAS Casualty Centre where Chris discussed with the Swan Sanctuary in Shepperton, WRAS’s vet Mike and agreed to get her to the Swan Sanctuary as soon as possible. At the hospital Katie and Chris secured the fracture using a veterinary wrap to support the leg and provided emergency medication.

The RSPCA is investigating further the reports of the vehicle purposefully hitting the swan. Other calls have included a grounded rook unable to fly at Court Lodge Close Lower Dicker, a Buzzard road casualty on the A26 near Herons Ghyll, a grounded goldfinch found in Alfriston, a gull road casualty in Levett Way, Polegate, a wood pigeon which struck a window in St Johns Road Polegate and another road casualty gull in Seaford. Rescuers were called to a buzzard on the A22 Hailsham by-pass on Christmas Day, thought to be a road casualty, but could not be found.

They also dealt with a hedgehog out during the day which wandered into a conservatory in Burgess Hill, probably looking for some festive dinner!

There was also a road casualty fox reports at Stanmer Park Brighton too on Christmas Day. Boxing day saw a difficult rescue of a fox with a rear leg caught in a fence near Church lane Wivelsfield Green. The fox is currently in care and has nasty injuries to the rear leg due to pressure necrosis and ligature wounds. We are trying our best to save the leg.

Rescuers, while on their way to a couple of hedgehogs in Eastbourne, also came across a road casualty fox by Langney Shopping Centre which sadly died shortly after they arrived.

We also have another fox in care found collapsed in a field near Willingdon Road, Eastbourne.

Rescuers have also been out to a herring gull road casualty in Winchelsea Road, Eastbourne, a Finch caught by a cat in Sancroft Road Eastbourne, feral Pigeons in Lowether Close, Cleveland Close and Carlisle Road, Eastbourne. An ambulance was sent to deal with a catted blackbird in Newhaven, too.

All this work costs time and money and the only way we can afford to keep this up is if more people help with standing order donations. The more people which set up donations of £1, or £5, or whatever you can afford, per month will help make us more secure for the future and able to budget and keep going. East Sussex WRAS was established as a voluntary group in 1996, but some of its rescuers have been rescuing since 1985.

The organisation was set up in order to provide a front-line rescue service for wildlife casualties who unlike their domesticated cousins, do not have owners to help look after them.

For more information visit the website http://wildlifeambulance.org/