TREVOR WEEKS: It’s time we realised we share this planet. We don’t own it

Fox from Brydges Close Eastbourne SUS-180124-152118001
Fox from Brydges Close Eastbourne SUS-180124-152118001

There is a lot in the media at the moment about deer and the need for a cull. Despite the number of road casualty deer on the Ashdown Forest having reduced from around 500 a year to less than 300 a year apparently there is a crisis! Culls are short-sighted, inefficient, short term, and costly in the long term. People say they don’t have any predators so we need to control them. Well, taking out the sick and injured is fair enough as these would be taken out by predators and therefore helps to prevent suffering, but vehicles take out way more than predators would along with deer entanglements and dog attacked deer.

There is plenty that can be done to reduce down road casualties. Wider grass verges so vehicles and deer can see each other with plenty of time to react. Underpasses to help animals cross safely. Electronic warning signs which only turn on when animals are on the verge. Slowing down at night would also make a big difference rather than driving faster thinking it’s safer. Culling deer is very inefficient, most of the deer stalkers we know say a proper cull would be extremely difficult if not impossible to undertake. One shot and the entire herd scatter and potentially across roads causing accidents. It is about time we realised that we share this planet with other creatures, we don’t own it, and they have just as much right 
to be here as we do. Culling is a waste of 
tax payers’ money.

January is always a month for numerous fox casualties. At the weekend we had a fox admitted fighting for its life. Just before 9am on Saturday morning WRAS took a call regarding a fox that had been attacked by a dog on park land in Peachaven. Rescuer Tony Neads from Polegate headed over as quickly as he could.

The caller had waited with the fox and was able to show Tony exactly where it was. The fox was clearly injured but managed to escape into a dense hedgerow. Tony and a caring member of the public attempted to capture the fox to no avail. Rescuer Karen Francis drove over from our centre to help too. The pair of them crawled through 
thick thorny undergrowth to do all they could to capture the fox.

After some amazing perseverance by all involved, they got the fox and secured it in a fox cage. The large fox, suffering from nasty bite wounds to his front leg was going down hill rapidly and Karen rushed it to the hospital where our care team were waiting. On arrival his temperature was taken and he was extremely hypothermic and clearly in severe shock. Our vet Mike was called. The fox was gently warmed, given fluids, wounds on the leg were cleaned and emergency first aid given. Despite everyone’s efforts the poor creature sadly passed away the following day, but at least he was comfortable and warm and did not die a slow and uncomfortable death.

We have had a fox rescued at Brydges Close, Eastbourne, this week. It came in very concussed and suffering from some minor wounds. He is in care at the moment and our vets and care team are working hard to take care of him.

We had an unusual visitor at WRAS this week. It was a great skua. He was found on the beach at Pevensey Bay. He was a little underweight and had a few grazes but otherwise not in too bad a condition.

We have a gorgeous collared dove in care, admitted after being found grounded in Polegate. We suspect he was hit by a car. He was brought in, warmed up and given fluids. He is looking so much brighter and hopefully should be able to go home soon.

We admitted another swan last week, this time from Langney Rise. 
It was wandering around in and out of the traffic. Rescuers rushed to the scene and managed to catch the swan and bring it back to our centre. On examination the keel was very tender to touch and gum colour abnormal, and we suspected that the swan had crash landed and ended up fighting with the resident swans nearby. The swan was kept in for 24 hours observation and then released down at Princes Park to then fly back home. The same day we also had a horrific call about a swan which crashed into a road sign getting its neck caught and resulting in it hanging itself. Despite the desperate efforts of motorists to save the swan it sadly died before they could do much. But a big thank you and well down for stopping and attempting to help.