TREVOR WEEKS: Releasing hedgehogs, cleaning up pigeons and chasing ducks

PIgeon covered in cooking fat from Eastbourne SUS-180205-112433001
PIgeon covered in cooking fat from Eastbourne SUS-180205-112433001

On Bank Holiday Monday Chris and I are taking part in the Barcombe 10K to raise money for our work with hedgehogs as its Hedgehog Awareness Weeks from May 6 to May 12. So please support us by making a donation on line at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/HedgehogAwareness.

Almost all of our overwintered hedgehogs have been returned to the wild now. A big thank you to all our volunteers and staff as well as a few regular finders who have helped get them back out over the past few weeks.

Rescuers were called to a badger in Olives Meadows, Uckfield ,early evening after a badger was seem foraging round a tree in the daylight. I was first on site and saw the badger run into a thick hedge. I decided to call in extra help to ensure the badger didn’t escape as there were multiple escape routes, which resulted in four veterinary ambulances and five rescuers on site. Experienced rescuers Chris and Kathy joined me in cornering the badger whilst new rescuers Ellie and David covered escape routes. I went in using a dog grasper but the badger was in such an awkward location the grasper was impossible to use. Chris passed a net into me crawling under the hedge, where I was able to place it over the badger and pull the youngster forward, allowing Chris to secure and cover the badger with a blanket. We lifted him into a cage and then checked him over. An examination showed several wounds mostly as a result of territorial fighting. Chris then drove the badger down to WRAS’s Casualty to be treated.

Two not so stunning pigeons came into care thanks to Sussex Police. The first was found by police in Jevington Gardens Eastbourne. They very kindly took the bird to our charity shop where rescuers then collected it. When they handed it over they mentioned there may be a second but couldn’t find it. Rescuers Andrew and Charlotte collected the pigeon and brought it to the centre.

When Katie and Chris opened the box they found a pigeon covered in cooking fat! So they set about washing and cleaning them up. Andrew and Charlotte were quite worried there was another pigeon out there in the same condition. They rushed back down and searched everywhere and found a second pigeon in exactly the same state. I’m pleased to say that after a weeks care they have just been released back to Eastbourne fully cleaned up and look amazing.

We sent two ambulances and three rescuers to Uckfield town centre on Monday after a mum and ducklings started walking through town. Members of the public called out WRAS concerned that the family were going to get run over. It took us about 20 minutes to arrive and we found several public trying to contain the mother and ducklings. J

ulia Cable from British Divers Marine Life Rescue had luckily been in town at the time and grabbed a pet carrier from her car and managed to corner and catch the mother and six of her ducklings in Bell Farm Lane. Other members of the public managed to round up and catch the remaining seven ducklings in Tesco car park. We transferred mum and ducklings to a large cage in one of the ambulances and drove them back to WRAS’s Hospital at Whitesmith, where they have been placed into an enclosure. As it is very unclear where they were trying to get to and due to the dangerous location, we had no choice but to bring them in.

If they were attempting to get to the river, this would have been a dangerous location to release them as it was so high and fast flowing at the time. Rescuers will allow mum and ducklings to spend the week at WRAS growing and developing, meaning that on release they are strong and more capable of getting out of trouble.

WRAS is the chosen charity of the month for the Co-op Service Station at Polegate this month, so please remember to drop your change into the collection tins in the store!

We will be at Bishopstone Village Fair on Saturday May 5. The fair next to Bishopstone Church near Seaford opens from 12noon till 4pm. It’s a great little fair set in some lovely Sussex countryside, so please come along and say hello and visit our stall and educational trailer. We will also be at Herstmonceux Castle over the weekend on May 19 and May 20 at the Castle Connections event.

I rushed out to a mum and 12 ducklings in a garden next to the busy main Lewes Road Ringmer last week. We thought we might have to escort mum to the nearest pond. It soon became clear that mum was not going to cope walking her young anywhere due to an injured leg. Mum had nested on top of a 6ft high wall in some ivy behind an apple tree.

One by one the ducklings jumped to the ground (none of them injured). As mum could still fly we had to wait for a suitable opportunity to corner and catch her and the youngsters. They were all successfully caught in a narrow passageway next to the house. Mum and her 12 babies have now been transferred to the Swan Sanctuary for specialist veterinary advice as mum has a rather complicated fractured leg. Fingers crossed her leg can be saved.