TREVOR WEEKS: Deer, badgers and foxes - our busiest week this year

Fernley Park deer rescue SUS-180221-102042001
Fernley Park deer rescue SUS-180221-102042001

This has certainly been our busiest week so far this year.

We’ve had four badgers rescued in the past week. The first was asleep in an alleyway at the side of a house in Uckfield just off the town centre.

A young lad living at the property spotted the badger and told his parents who called out WRAS. They thought the badger was sick as it was shaking but this is a sign a fear in badgers.

I was able to encourage the badger into a badger carrier without needing a dog grasper and bring him back to our Casualty Centre. It was obvious the badger was just a juvenile and been pushed away by its mum.

Normally we would leave them alone but due to the close proximity to the busy road we decided to bring him in and release in the early hours of the morning.

At about 1:30am rescuers Ellie, Victoria and I released the badger outside the property where found without the risk of the day time traffic causing us a problem.

Rescuer Chris rushed out to a badger road casualty which sadly died, but he also dealt with two other juvenile badgers on a new housing estate in Hastings which had fallen down an retaining wall into a garden.

Unable to get back out again, the badgers were found curled up in the corner of the garden. Both badgers were encouraged into cages.

After a check of the area it was not clear where their sett would be, so it would have been too much of a risk to release them during day light without them potentially causing an accident on the nearby main road.

So they too were taken to WRAS’s casualty centre at in the early hours of the morning released again.

We have dealt with a few foxes this week too. Most of them have been road casualties and sadly most of them have not survived.

However we have one in from Burgess Hill who we are battling with and amazingly is fighting with us to survive, so fingers crossed.

Rescuers Carla and Linda have been out to Bexhill Railway Station to free a trapped gull. He had been in there for a few hours but after some gentle persuasion he was sent on his way.

We have had a couple of deer to deal with this week. On Valentine’s Day we received a call after a small deer was spotted in a deep stream unable to get out.

We walked across to the stream under the impression the deer was trapped in a ditch, and were quite surprised when the ditch turned into a rather deep fast flowing stream which is a tributary of the River Uck.

Chris and I took one look at the deer and knew we had to act quickly. There was no time to stop and change into dry suits or waders, every second counted on getting the deer out and starting the warm up process.

We had to slide down the steep bank of the stream into the water either side of the deer.

The poor roe deer was very cold and wet and had a leg caught in a tree root. I pushed her up and forward to get her out of the water and Chris climbed up onto the bank to help lift her completely out of the stream.

After emptying our boots of water, Chris carried the deer in his arms back to the waiting ambulance and where both Chris and the deer were wrapped in blankets to soak up as much water as possible and get them gently warm up.

The deer was then taken to WRAS’s Casualty Care Centre at Whitesmith where emergency treatment was given and the warm up process continued.

The roe was bedded down in one of WRAS’s indoor pens with a deep litter of straw and several heat pads to keep the deer warm. Deer specialists Chris and Sylvia Collinson visited WRAS to help assess the deer’s condition.

They decided to take the deer back to their home as they were not convinced it would be a quick turn around. To our surprise, the following morning, they were on the phone asking if we wanted to look at releasing her. She had recovered really well overnight and was up and about wanting to go.

She was loaded into WRAS’s ambulance and returned to the woodland next to the stream and released. She ran off and then stopped to look back and see if we were following. I like to think she was stopping to say thank you!

We have also had a fallow deer delivered to the casualty centre after being hit at near Blackboys. This one we have passed to Chris and Sylvia.

We have also caught a duck at Horam, outside the Lakeside Café, with a badly broken wing. It was yet another very wet and cold rescue.

The duck is now at the Swan Sanctuary where its wing is being assessed as to whether they can fix the wing or need to amputate and a new home found.