Poor Chris is in the wars again. He has been so run down this summer with it being so busy that he has been quite ill recently. He has also developed an abscess on his knee which has been very painful, so he is struggling to get around.
This summer has been exceptionally busy for Chris and I, who are the only two volunteers providing the out of hours rescues after 10pm. As our charity gets busier, there is more and more demand on our service, needing Chris and I available during the daytime, meaning we struggling to find time to take a break. Night after night of not getting home till 1am or 4am takes its toll. So many people think we are a large charity with a never ending supply of money, loads of staff, a call-centre, and funded by the council. We’re not, we have very few staff and funding is limited and has to be balanced to ensure our long term survivability.
Monday morning I had to assemble a team without Chris to deal with a fallow deer buck with its antlers entangled in an electric rope in a field off Nursery Lane, Fairwarp, near Uckfield. This has to have been one of the most difficult deer rescues we have done in a long time. When we arrived the deer was in a ditch surrounded by brambles but it soon managed to jump out and started running around the field trailing a very long stretch of electric rope. Usually in these situations we would try to shorten the rope by encouraging the deer round a tree, but there was nothing suitable we could use. After a couple of attempts to catch the deer with the walk-to-wards net failed, I had to try a very risky approach by holding the rope and slowly walking towards the deer making its turning circle smaller and smaller, till I was able to hold onto the antlers. This allowed Kathy to grab a rear leg and bring the deer to the floor.
Karen then climbed over the shoulders of the deer to help pin the deer to the floor. So with Karen and Kathy holding on tightly, I set about cutting the rope. This didn’t take too long, luckily. After a controlled release and a bit of encouragement, the deer sprang to life and ran off across the field and this time managed to negotiate the rope fence at the far end and run off into the distance.
We have also dealt with a poorly seal on the beach next to the Western Lawns in Eastbourne. We were called out by members of the public at around 4pm after they spotted the seal on the beach with blood on its coat. Chris, Ellie and I arrived on scene to find a crowd of people watching the seal.
Lifeguards were also in attendance ensuring people did not get too close. Both Chris and I are experienced in seal rescue and catch, so straight away we positioned ourselves between the seal and water blocking its escape route. We then walked towards the seal and whilst Chris distracted the seal using a net head, I jumped the seal, pinning it to the floor and gaining control of the seal’s head and neck to prevent us from being bitten. Chris assess the rear of the seal whilst I checked the front.
We both found puncture wounds which were quite infected and old. I wrapped the seal’s head in a towel which and we then carried the seal up the beach to WRAS’s waiting veterinary ambulance. The seal was take back to WRAS’s hospita,l where the wounds were cleaned up before being transported to the RSPCA Mallydams Wood Centre at Hastings where they have specialist seal facilities. The poor seal is very poorly but now in good hands and we hope will make a full recovery. There are videos of both the deer and seal rescues on our You Tube Channel at www.youtube.com/eastsussexwras
Saturday night rescuers from WRAS came across a road casualty deer just along the road from our hospital on the busy 60mph section A22 by Holmes Hill. Rescuer Stacey was on her way to release some hedgehogs back home when she came across the injured young male deer. Using our ambulance with orange beacons flashing, she protected the deer and other motorists from a further accident. Casualty manager Katie attended in another vehicle and boxed in the injured deer, away from the traffic. Once safe, Sussex Police were called but were unable to help.
Luckily Katie was able to get hold of a local deer warden to attend and was able to end the deer’s suffering. Our team were shocked how fast other cars were still coming towards them when they were clearly making their presence known. Some motorists were beeping horns and flashing lights. If you see one of our ambulances in the road with our hazards or beacons on, please be aware that there is likely a casualty in the road. It’s a scary experience trying to control a large deer on a fast road on your own.
The road in question has clear deer warning signs up for a two mile stretch and clearly motorists were not taking heed of these warnings, some were clearly going over the limit. Please, when you see deer warning signs slow down and be prepared to stop. They can just come out from anywhere. If you do hit a deer, report it by calling Sussex police on 101 unless its causing an obstruction then call 999.