TREVOR WEEKS: We took our first ever wildlife X-ray this week

WRAS's first X-ray of road casualty pheasant SUS-170315-102204001

WRAS's first X-ray of road casualty pheasant SUS-170315-102204001

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I finally finished reviewing our casualty data for the past three years this week. We have had an amazing 43 per cent increase in casualties between 2015 and 2016! That’s over 800 extra casualties.

We knew the numbers were up but were quite shocked to find out they were that much higher. I’m not sure how we are going to cope if we have similar numbers of casualties this year, as we spent more than we had planned last year on casualties, so I just hope we can encourage more people to set up standing orders with us to ensure we have enough money in the long run.

Dedicated Daryl Farmer, who is currently rowing across the Atlantic, is less than a week away from completing his solo Atlantic row in aid of East Sussex WRAS! On Tuesday he had just over 200 nautical miles left of his 3,000 miles journey which he started at the beginning of December last year. Daryl is currently rowing without a rudder so has to manually adjust his course as he rows.

He has had an incredibly difficult row trapped on a very small boat for the past three months away from his family and friends. If you haven’t supported Daryl yet please sponsor him on his just giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/atlanticsolo2016

The number of young doves continues to grow. Number 30 arrived at the weekend, although it was much smaller than we were expecting. It was so small it was still partially in the egg. Rescuer Hannah Stainten collected a dove, which had been picked up by a cat, from Eastbourne and rushed it to the hospital were Chris and Katie were waiting.

The egg had been quite damaged and the poor baby was struggling. Chris gently assisted the little one on his journey into the world whilst Katie sorted out a heat pad and made a nest for the new arrival which was then rushed up to Kathy.

Generally trying to rear young wild birds from such a young age is not overly successful. My partner, Kathy is our specialist pigeon and dove expert and has quite a lot of experience in young doves so is giving this little one a go. Kathy is now undertaking two to three hourly feeds and having to get through the night to check the little chap’s temperature is correct. Many of our other young doves are now at the casualty centre and some of the first young doves have now been released too.

Saturday WRAS has reached another milestone in our development and, with our vet Simon Harris, we have carried out our first X-ray at the hospital. We have had an X-ray machine and an X-ray room for a while but due to having several issues with the equipment, flooding and then other more urgent works, it has delayed our ability to get everything installed and start to carry out any X-rays.

Thanks to a kind hearted supporter Chris and I were able to train as radiation protection supervisors last year. Our vet Simon was able to carry out an X-ray on a road casualty pheasant. Sadly the X-ray showed a nasty fracture and it had to be put to sleep, but the X-ray was carried out in our wildlife hospital meaning that the bird did not have to go through the stress and trauma of travelling to a domestic veterinary surgery. Thank you so much to everyone for their donations and support in helping us to continue to improve and increase the quality of the care we are able to provide to wildlife casualties here in East Sussex.

Chris had to rush to an injured badger on the main road through St Leonards on Sunday morning. The young female had nasty territorial bite wounds, collapsed and possibly been hit by a car. She was rushed into Sussex Coast vets where sadly she had to be put to sleep. We had yet another road casualty pheasant in care this week, and yet again injuries beyond repair and had to be put to sleep.

I think it is criminal that so many millions of pheasants are released into the wild every year without any concern for their future wellbeing, the road accidents caused by people swerving to avoid them on our roads or the detrimental effect they have on our native wildlife and food chain. Squashed pheasants litter our roads after shoots have taken place.

Some people may have had problems getting through to us earlier this week. We have had problems with our phone equipment, which has taken a while to repair the damaged equipment. Our apologies to anyone who has experienced any problems.

If you see a hedgehog out during the day please pick it up and secure it and then call a rescue organisation for advice. All too frequently we receive calls about such hedgehogs but when people go back outside to check them and pick them up they have vanished.

If the hedgehog doesn’t need rescuing or is health it can then be released again where found after seeking advice.

Other calls this week have included a road casualty jackdaw in Ringmer, a baby pigeon originally from Worthing but was collected in Eastbourne after being caught behind a solar panel, a gull hit by a car in Bourne Street Eastbourne, a road casualty sparrow from Lewes, a injured duck at Polegate and a hedgehog rescued at Deanland Wood near Golden Cross out during the day with trauma to his head and nose on Monday.