TREVOR WEEKS: Range of wildlife rescues include swans, pigeons and two catted rabbits

Two catted rabbits from Polegate SUS-160229-085114001

Two catted rabbits from Polegate SUS-160229-085114001

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Rescuers dealt with a couple of swan incidents this week. The first call was to a swan at Princes Park, reported as having about five metres of rope trailing in the water attached to the bird’s neck.

Chris and I attended on-site with one our students from Plumpton College.

On site it was not difficult to find the young swan which was clearly distressed.

Although we took our rescue boat with us we luckily were able to catch the swan using bread and catching it by hand.

Chris carried the swan to the nearby grass where the rope was removed and the swan checked over.

Luckily the swan was okay, a good weight and no sign of any illness or injury.

This was one lucky swan and released back onto the water.

This again highlights the need for people to tidy away waste of all types.

We have had so many different creatures being caught in a wide variety of objects including a fox cub with a plastic tub stuck on its head, a hedgehog with plastic beer can holder wrapped round its body, a duck with a plastic bottle top round its beak, a gull with discarded fishing tackle which almost caused it to drown and a deer with bailer twine attached to its antlers which became caught on a barbed wire fence.

So yet again we are pleading with people to tidy up after themselves and ensure nothing is left where wildlife or domestic pets can get caught as they may not be as lucky as this swan.

The second swan prompted a number of people to call concerned for a swan unable to get past a weir to join its partner.

When we arrived at Shinewater Park Eastbourne, we found a rather elderly swan swimming backwards and forwards trying to get over the weir.

It appears the younger swan was a bit more sprightly and managed to push itself up and over the weir, but this more mature and not quite so agile swan was struggling and clearly distressed.

Several times the swan tried to push through the brambles to get up the embankment but without success.

If the swan had kept doing this I could see it injuring itself.

The swan was not easy to get to, and involved battled through quite a lot of brambles to reach the swan.

The capture of the swan using a swan hook was text book, but the release was far from easy.

I now had the job of trying to get the swan to the other side of the weir through the brambles which again I had to battle with, getting rather scratched in the process.

It was really nice though to see the swan swim off and as it swam off it gave us a call and a lift of its neck as if to say thank you.

Our ambulances have been busy dealing with numerous calls including these two young rabbits which came into care from Polegate after being caught by a cat; a feisty feral pigeon from Willingdon found grounded and emaciated; a stunning pigeon from Cade Street in Eastbourne with an eye infection and underweight; a young pigeon caught by a cat in Newhaven; a poor wood pigeon from Hailsham, very underweight and covered in lice, plus a road casualty barn owl on a lane just north of Rushlake Green.

There have also been several calls to injured foxes in the Uckfield and Eastbourne areas including one on Saturday afternoon which rescuer Chris attended.

With the help of the neighbour they managed to corner the fox and contain it.

The fox was brought back to WRAS’s hospital and given a once over by the care team.

Our vet was contacted and first aid given for some old injuries and an infection probably as a result of being hit by a car.

Making the most of some nice weather last week we released the pigeon rescued from inside Creams Ice Cream Parlour in Brighton.

This was the one which flew inside the shop and then fell down behind the shop fittings and involved a very difficult evening rescue trying to reach the pigeon.

Two weeks ago rescuers Andrew and Charlotte were called to a grounded kestrel that was found on a busy road just outside Newhaven.

The bird was less than half of the average weight for the species but thanks to the hard work of our care team, giving the bird one on one care at home even, she eventually got stronger and her digestive system started improving.

She was eventually moved into an indoor aviary to build up strength and last week she was taken back to her home range for release.

We also had a little hedgehog came recently from Uckfield. She was found out in the morning eating bird food weighing only 350g.

Under observation we noticed she was not walking properly so Henley House Vets in Uckfield took an x-ray, which revealed that she was suffering from calcium deficiency and as a result weakened her bones and one had fractured as a result.

Don’t forget we are running a couple of volunteer recruitment days in March.

If you are interested in volunteering at WRAS why not come along.

You could get involved in helping to clean out hedgehogs, feeding baby birds, rescuing swans or helping in reception and events.

Hour long recruitment sessions are being run at 10am, 12noon, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm on Saturday March 19 and Tuesday March 22 at WRAS’s Casualty Care Centre at Whitesmith which is between Hailsham, Lewes and Uckfield on the 54 bus route from Eastbourne to Uckfield.

For more information check out our website or to book on a session please call us on 01825-873003. http://wildlifeambulance.org/volunteer-recruitment-days/