TREVOR WEEKS: Another busy, and testing, week for our rescue team

Trevor Weeks. East Sussex WRAS Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service. SUS-160404-145044001
Trevor Weeks. East Sussex WRAS Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service. SUS-160404-145044001

We have had some pretty testing casualties this week and yet more very long hours for our rescue team. One hedgehog came in at the weekend absolutely smothered in fly eggs, Chris, Laura, Andrew, Charlotte and Katie worked for hours carefully removing the thousands of eggs from around the head, neck and belly of the hedgehog. We had another hedgehog reported by an estate agent as being out during the day on a patio of a house in Buxted which we had to rush to.

Rescuers Chris and Laura rushed to Seaford after reports of an injured hedgehog with breathing difficulties and covered in blood. Clearly something had grabbed hold of the hedgehog which was already in a poor body condition for his size and dehydrated. The hog, clearly in shock, had no obvious wounds to explain the blood and breathing has now returned to normal. We suspect the blood may well have been from the mouth of a dog or something.

Rescuer Keith went to the aid of a hedgehog at Middle Farm, Firle. At the same time ambulances were rescuing a collapsed fox in Eastbourne which sadly had to be put to sleep at the vets due to the severe emaciation caused by the fox being blind. Ambulances were also responding to an injured wood pigeon in Seaford and a gull entangled in fishing line on Eastbourne Pier.

We were called to rescue a young duck from one of the mesh cages of the floating planter in the middle of Motcombe Pond in Eastbourne last week. Although we can’t be sure, it is thought the duck may have been living inside the metal planter for a while, as he was certainly well hidden and at first we were not sure there was even a duck there. A couple of children were very insistent that the duckling was there. I pulled out my dry suit and waded across the pond to the floating island. It soon became clear that the duckling was inside the metal cage erected to protect the plants. I had to cut the cable ties holding the side of the cage in place and fold the side up allowing the duck to run out to safety. We used cable ties to secure the planter side back in place before wading back to the edge of the pond to return to the centre. The pond is certainly looks much better and healthier since the works were undertaken.

We are getting a lot of road casualty calls, primarily to gulls and foxes. The fledgling gulls are now flying but getting themselves into trouble, hitting buildings and vehicles by accident. Foxes are starting to become a bit more independent of their mums now and as a result running out across roads getting hit by cars. We had to rush to the aid of a young fox hit by a car in Shortgate Lane, Laughton. The fox dragged himself off the road into a field. When we arrived on site the fox was in the process of trying to get underground. We were just in time to grab hold of the fox’s tail before it disappeared out of sight and reach. I administered emergency medication on site after seeking authorisation from our vets. Once back at WRAS’s Casualty Centre the fox was found to have a crushed pelvis and badly fractured rear leg which had to be put to sleep. Sad as it is I am so pleased we were there to help the fox and stop it from suffering. Only a couple of days previous we were called to a road casualty young fox hit on Framfield Road Uckfield between Sandy Lane and Hammond Green we rushed it to the Casualty Centre where it was found to also have a damaged pelvis and multiple fractures to its rear legs. Emergency medication was given but sadly the fox passed away en route to our vets.

Other calls this week have included an hedgehog out during the day in Sun Star Lane, Polegate; a blackbird unable to fly on a roof in Newhaven; a gull trapped in a light well in a building in Eastbourne; a hedgehog out during the day time in North Way Seaford; a collapsed hedgehog in Sheppey Walk Hailsham; a young pigeon at Senlac Vets in Battle; an injured gull and pigeon in Lewes; a Magpie stuck between a fence and building with a broken wing in Pevensey Bay and a road casualty hedgehog in Ringmer – just to name a few.

A gull was found hanging underneath Eastbourne Pier last week wrapped up in fishing line. A couple of kayakers from Sovereign Harbour happened to noticed the bird hanging in the air and managed to use their oars to get the bird down. The bird was taken to the beach where they called out WRAS. The rest of the line was removed at WRAS’s Casualty Centre before the bird was passed to Bird Aid at Hailsham for rehabilitation.

Our rescue phone line has certainly been very busy this week and rescuers have worked extremely hard trying to cover as many calls as possible. I know there have been a few people we have not been able to help but this is due to how busy we have been.

Finally, we are very short on pillow cases so if you have any spare or are thinking of changing the set you have at home, please consider donating them to WRAS. Just deliver them to our Casualty Centre Unit 8 The Shaw Barn, A22, Whitesmith, BN8 6JD.