Trevor’s Week - September 14, 2011: Whitesmith centre has had a busy year

WE HAVE managed to finish the new large paddock for our baby deer to exercise in and Dottie, Del Boy, Dolly, and Duke thoroughly enjoyed running, jumping and playing around in their new enclosure.

It has been so nice to see them having fun as a group. It will be even better when Dime’s wounds have healed and she is able to go outside along with Delilah too.

Visit our You Tube Channel to see the latest video footage of them – www.youtube.com/user/eastsussexwras.

IT HAS been a week for pigeons and doves. We had a Collared Dove with a tick on its head rescued at Crowlink and a two-and-a-half-week old baby Collared Dove rescued after it was trapped in a dustbin in Uckfield. Pigeons have also been rescued in Seaford, St Leonards, Peacehaven, Newhaven, Eastbourne and Hailsham. Many have been suffering from canker - a fungal infection which affects the mucus membranes in the throat and crop. Whitish growths develop and expand to the point of blocking the throat and eventually apply pressure to close the airway.

Sadly most birds we pick up are so bad it is impossible to treat, we are fighting for a few and fingers crossed for them.

At this time of year many wild animals and birds leave their parents and start out in the big wide world on their own.

Many of these pigeons are young and, similar to some of the hedgehogs, foxes and birds of prey we experience coming in, are emaciated and underweight.

We have also had a few more bat calls including one trapped in a house at Folkington.

It was certainly lively and gave me the run around. I ended up crawling under a bed in order to catch the little creature.

IT HAS been a year since our Casualty Centre opened at Whitesmith. WRAS has dealt with more than double the number of casualties than previous years as a result of opening the centre, as well as managing to hand-rear many more garden birds thanks to our dedicated volunteers.

We have managed to purchase more bird cages, and construct new indoor aviaries and pens along with starting work on our educational room too.

We are far from finished and still need to raise funds to purchase more caging, as well as increase regular donations to pay for food, medication, heating, electric, water, rent, ambulance costs and more.

I thank everyone who has made this possible, especially those who have donated to WRAS but also our volunteers for working so hard in looking after so many new casualties.

I wonder what the next 12 months will bring. There will be more casualties, and I hope we can ride out these hard financial times and still manage to provide our service free of charge to as many members of the public as possible.

Our turnover last year was £82,000 dealing with more than 2,000 calls for help - a huge number of call-outs and a high demand for such a small charity as ours.

I wish we had more funding, more time and more resources to help every caller that contacts us.

MORE GOOD news is that a number of our summer babies - mainly hogs and pigeons - have been released in the last few weeks or are almost ready for release.

Many of the hogs in particular have been seen regularly since release at their soft release sites which is great news.

A NUMBER of Kate and Kathy’s hand-reared feral pigeons are almost ready for release.

Frank, Cagney and Lacey and Starsky and Hutch are all in the aviary building up wing strength and will soon be joined by Kojak before being released.

Finbar the baby Woody Kathy was rearing with the broken beak is now fully weaned and eating well.

He is at the casualty centre for monitoring before going into an aviary along with Bill, an emaciated Woody fledgling so underweight and malnourished he couldn’t even stand until he had been crop fed for 10 days.

Carrie is now handrearing her first pigeon - an emaciated feral fledgling - Enrique and Kate is busy helping her and rearing her remaining seven babies.

FOR THE second year running supporter Sylvia Harrison is opening her garden and home to raise much-needed funds for WRAS. The event is on September 24 at 42 Marine Drive, Bishopstone, near Seaford, BN25 2RT. It runs from 11.30am to 5pm with ploughman’s lunches, coffee and cake, afternoon teas, raffle, books and other stalls - in aid of East Sussex WRAS. Please support the event.

THAT same weekend we will be collecting funds at Newhaven Sainsbury’s too so please come along and say hello.

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East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service 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