Trevor’s Week - January 4, 2012: Skeleton crew copes with festive emergencies

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HAPPY New Year to you all, I hope you had a peaceful Christmas and enjoyed the New Year celebrations.

Apart from a few manic moments over the past couple of weeks it has not been too bad on the skeleton crew of volunteers helping to deal with rescues.

We had a 2am call out to a hedgehog road casualty on the A22 near Maresfield just before Christmas.

I just about managed to crawl out of bed, and when I arrived I was greeted by a motorist presenting me with a dead hedgehog. The hedgehog was stiff and been dead for a while sadly.

WRAS also has a pheasant in care which has been a Christmas patient.

It is amazing that the poor bird is alive. We received the call from Halford Auto Centre at Newhaven, after they removed the bird alive from the grill of a car which it had been in collision with the previous evening!

Luckily the bird doesn’t appear to have anything broken, but isn’t using one of its legs properly, but it is improving day by day.

We had a swan come in after crashing into the roof of Sainsbury’s at Hampden Park too just before Christmas.

It was clearly rather concussed and dazed.

We kept it in for a few days to recover and to give a bit of TLC and she was released back in Eastbourne just after Christmas by rescuer Murrae.

For the last four years we have had a Tawny Owl in care over Christmas, this year has been no exception.

The poor bird seemed to fall out of tree onto the roof of a car driving along the Blackboys to Heathfield road.

Luckily the bird was not badly injured but was shocked and concussed. He was our first release of the New Year.

Tony rescued a gannet in Seaford on December 23 with oil in its feathers.

Our oiled bird facilities are not fully up and running yet, so the bird was taken to RSPCA Mallydams for their care and attention.

Tony also dealt with a pigeon flying round inside Matalan at Sovereign Harbour on December 29.

It gave him the run around but he managed it in the end, fit and well it was released outside.

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OUR PATRON Sarah Jane Honeywell has been in panto at the Capital Theatre, Horsham, and has been meeting her fans after the show in order to raise money for WRAS.

She has raised more than £2,300 so far for WRAS which is excellent news and a great start to the New Year for our casualties.

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THE BIGGEST rescue of the festive season was a nasty incident at the Pells Pond, Lewes.

Tony, Claire and I had the job a catching a duck with a 13cm long dart through its neck.

We had several members of the public helping us and using our nets.

Tony put on his dry suit, and Lewes Council ranger Chris Kemp and I jumped in the cold water as I had left my dry suit behind.

It took five attempts to catch the bird which was able to fly, but was clearly not at full strength.

Eventually local resident Jack Lee managed to catch the duck as it dived through the water and Jack skilfully managed to catch the bird as it emerged.

We would have struggled to catch this bird without the public’s help. The bird was taken back to WRAS’s Casualty Care Centre where the dart was carefully removed.

Chris informed Lewes Police who are now investigating the incident. It appears that the dart is from a blowgun.

Three other darts have been found at the pond, one embedded in a piece of wood, one in the concrete wall of the pond and another removed by a fisherman the previous day from a duck’s wing.

I sincerely hope that this is not some sick Christmas present which is now being used to cause cruelty to the local wildlife.

We are encouraging anyone who has witnessed anyone using anything like a dart gun in the Lewes area to contact Sussex Police dialling 101 and quoting Police reference 0871 of 31st December 2011.

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WE ARE in the process of putting together a 2011 Review and The Story of Button DVD.

We are still in the process of editing this but hope it will be available by the end of January.

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East Sussex WRAS is a voluntary organisation which relies on donations, receiving no funding from government or the RSPCA. Anyone wishing to make a donation should contact the treasurer at PO Box 2148, Seaford, BN25 9DE.

24-hour rescue line: 07815 078234

www.wildlifeambulance.org