PEACOCKS are causing headaches for a wildlife rescue charity because they keep escaping and locals expect volunteers to deal with them.
East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) says it has been taking an increasing number of calls from people about the birds – especially from Westham and Pevensey – but that, as a small charity, it simply does not have the time, funding or resources to deal with them.
WRAS founder Trevor Weeks, who was recently awarded an MBE for his work, said, “We are wildlife rescue, and peacocks are not British wildlife, therefore we do not have a remit to deal with them. It would be better to contact an animal charities which deal with pets and exotic animals rather than us.
“We have always tried to help out as much as we can with non-wildlife calls, but we just don’t have the time, money nor resources to deal with these rescues.
“These calls take a lot of time, and they can be very difficult and impossible on occasions to catch.
“Some of the callers have been very understanding and genuinely concerned about the birds welfare, but most of them have been from frustrated residents being woken up in the mornings by the peacocks calling.
“They then take their frustration out on WRAS’s volunteers over the phone because they can’t find anyone to help.
“On several occasions I have had to put the phone down as I am not prepared to tolerate being spoken to so badly.
“Just because we are wildlife rescue they seemed to think that it is our responsibility to deal with any problem animal roaming around and they get very aggressive and rude towards us when we say that peacocks are escaped pets.
“Some people even think that we are part of the council and get aggressive towards us thinking we are a public service paid by their tax – but we are a small local charity funded by donation.”
WRAS believes there are as many as 20 peacocks escaped and roaming round East Sussex, including birds in Pevensey and Westham.
And, according to Mr Weeks, the owners need to take on more responsibility. He said, “I do think owners of peacocks need to take more responsibility for them and I have believed for many years now that it should be a legal requirement for all pets to be micro chipped so that when an animal escapes it can be traced back to its owner.”