TREVOR WEEKS: A stressful week of wildlife rescues
The past week has been a very stressful week, with Hedgehog Awareness Week events running, volunteers off ill, a large number of rescues to deal with, especially during the night and numerous horrific injuries to cope with.
We have really been pushed to the limit and are all getting very tired too. Our centre is rapidly becoming full. Thank you to everyone who come to see us at Bishopstone Village Fair, Jollyes, Polegate Town Council or who attended our Unusual Quiz Night at East Dean last week, it was nice to meet and talk to so many people who clearly cared about our local wildlife.
There have been a few deer calls this week and none of them have had a good outcome. The first was at road casualty at Lower Dicker. When we arrived deer wardens had shot the deer. The second was another road casualty on the A22 near Blackberry Activity Farm. Rescue manager Chris attended on site to assess the situation. On arrival the deer was actually mobile so he called back to the centre and asked for myself and Kathy to attend. Sadly the deer had nasty multiple fractures to a rear leg and obvious internal issues and the deer warden was asked to attend. As the police were unable to attend we took control of the situation.
I slowed the traffic while Kathy and Chris with the help of a passing motorist kept the deer away from the road whilst waiting for the deer warden to arrive. The deer was humanely dispatched due to its leg and internal injuries. Thank you to the people that stopped and called us and alerted us to the deer and the deer wardens for their response.
A sad outcome for all involved. There isn’t anywhere local where such large animals can be taken and treated safely. WRAS would so like to create some facilities to deal with these larger animals but just don’t have the funding for it as they cost well over £1,500 per deer to rehabilitate back to the wild.
The third call was about a dog attacked deer at Buxted Park near Uckfield. She was stuck in the river and had been there for a couple of days. The deer was pregnant, but due to her injuries and extensive dog attack injuries she had lost her baby. Again, very sadly she had to be put to sleep. If the call had been received when the incident first occurred she might have stood a chance of being saved. Accidents do happen, and if you think you have witnessed something like this please call at the time so we can at least look out for the poor animal.
As I’ve said before if you can’t control your dog off the lead it shouldn’t be off the lead. Night time and early morning rescues have been very high last week with rescuers having to deal with road casualty owl on the A26, another road casualty owl in Ardingly, a bat in Firle, an injured bird in Newhaven and a duck with an injured wing in Hadlow Down.
WRAS Rescuer Manager Chris was at the centre late at night dealing with a beautiful hedgehog. The callers, who live in Crawley, were concerned about the hedgehog seemed to have an injured leg. Being one of the only 24 hour rescue service they asked us for help as they couldn’t find anyone else closer. This is not an area we normally cover. Can anyone help? We are in desperate need of more rescuers, orphan team members and feed and clean volunteers. We have all sorts of shifts on different days and times that need filling. We are in particular need of Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings, rescuers are needed most days and there are still a lot of empty spaces for the orphan shifts that need filling. We will have the hot weather soon, so why not save yourself from getting sunburned, enjoy helping the wildlife of East Sussex and make the most of our air conditioning. If you are interested please email [email protected]
Rescuer Kathy Martyn had a horrendous injured hedgehog to deal with, suffering from a strimmer injury. Please please check your gardens before going out and using strimmers, mowers and garden forks. Kathy picked this hedgehog up from Pine Walk in Uckfield found running around in the day with half its face sliced off, teeth exposed, eye missing, and spines cut off its back where it had curled up to defend itself. The poor creature had clearly been like it a few days and lost a lot of weight.
Thank you to the finders for calling us and keeping it safe and to Henley House Vets for ending its suffering too. On the plus side, we have managed to get yet more hedgehogs out for release this week including Luna which Kathy and I released in Pipersfield in Uckfield. Our volunteers have also helped get hedgehogs New Delhi and Pear safely released in Hailsham, Minnie in Seaford and Pixie in Polegate,
Jalfreizi has also gone back to Wivelsfield Green plus Harriet, Mahal and Chewbacca have been returned to their homes in Heathfield. Amazingly we still have some hedgehogs in hibernation. Our group of baby mice have now been released. Our first baby birds have moved into our outdoor aviaries. A group of bunnies has gone to an outdoor pen as have 4 of our 19 ducklings.
Our first group of fox cubs are now ready for an outdoor pen too. We now also have a couple of baby tawny owls in care. One of them was found left on the door step to International Animal Rescue in Uckfield and they swiftly delivered it down to us for care. It’s good to have the two together as company for each other.
We have also another dormouse in care. We rarely see them at our centre but that is two in recently both caught by cats and doing well so hopefully be releasable soon.