TREVOR WEEKS: A good week for releasing animals back into the wild

Fox cubs move to new outdoor pen (3) SUS-180516-100538001
Fox cubs move to new outdoor pen (3) SUS-180516-100538001

Its been a good week for releases.

The mum and ducklings which were roaming around Uckfield town centre and in danger of getting run over, have now been released back to the wild.

We found a secluded spot on the nearby nature reserve and released them.

We are getting quite a few calls about mums and ducklings at the moment.

Many people are surprised to see a pair of ducks down in their garden or mum and babies suddenly appear.

Duck will generally nest away from ponds and rivers as it is safer for them.

Around ponds you will get foxes, gulls, corvids, mink, stoats, birds of prey, and other meat eating creatures which know they are likely to find an easy meal.

So gardens are generally safer, and if she sits still the local cats and foxes will probably just walk straight past her whilst hidden up under a hedge where they are not expecting her.

Ducks have been know to nest on flat roofs, in planters and even on top of walls covered in ivy.

If you see a mum and ducklings, generally keep an eye on them from a distance, unless in immediate danger like being run over.

She will know where she wants to walk them to.

Try not to force her to go where you want her to go.

Be patient with her.

She may walk back and forth for a while which could indicate that she is struggling to get past a fence or you are standing in her way.

Generally on little estate cul-de-sacs they can be walked along the grass verge to safety, but if there are heading towards a busy road the give us a call and we will try our best to get there and help them out.

Only catch them as a last resort and please do not just catch them and dump them on the nearest pond.

There have been several incidents of people dumping mum and ducklings at places like Princes Park and Hampden Park lakes, and we have had to then step in and rescue those who have not been killed by the other ducks, geese or swans.

Certainly, ducklings on their own should not be dumped on ponds; they need to come into care.

The hedgehog which was rescued from about four feet down inside a wall in Meadow Place, Uckfield, was released on Friday night.

We get quite a few hedgehogs seen around that area of Uckfield and into Harcourt Close and Road.

We have had an influx of hedgehogs with badly damaged rear legs this week.

We have sent three for amputation, of which one of them sadly was too badly damaged for amputation to take place.

The other two are doing well and are on the road to recovery.

Once we know they have built up enough strength in the remaining rear leg, we put them into outside pens to check how they cope.

Animals are as individual as humans so there is no one rule fits all.

Some cope others don’t. Each animal is taken on its own merits.

They are microchipped so if they come back in to care we can see how they have managed.

It is something all rescuers have differing opinions on as some have found issues with skin or ear conditions on the side where the leg is missing, but so far we haven’t, and we have had good follow up on hogs released in gardens where they visit regularly.

We also see quite a few hedgehogs come in from the wild with amputation which have occurred in the wild and healed without any veterinary assistance.

They often come in for unrelated reasons but seem to be coping well which also reassures us, but we are aware of others concerns as well based on their experience.

At WRAS we try to have a balanced approach to dealing with casualties and treat them all on a case by case basis.

We certainly don’t put all disabled or elderly animals to sleep.

Our first group of cubs have moved to their new larger outside enclosure this week.

The next step on their road to freedom.

An incredible amount of work has gone on day and night to get them this far - fantastic work by the orphan team!

A group of our long term residents have been moved to an outdoor aviary this week.

They have loved the sunny weather.

This group are long term patients recovering from neurological as well as other injuries.

Some of which have been with us for more than 18 months.

However, we have been amazed at how well they are progressing and hopefully some of them will be releasable soon.