Hungry Starlings at WRAS

Hungry Starlings at WRAS

A big thank you to our volunteers and staff for working so hard on Saturday morning after the torrential rain which left us with an inch of water across a third of our centre at Whitesmith. The A22 was also flooded on the bend just north of us closing the road.  It was a battle with Sussex Police to get volunteers to the centre to look after the casualties.

Westham Swan Nesting

Westham Swan Nesting

Several of our volunteers were turned away. Even after I called Sussex Police to explain where our centre was and that we did not need to drive through the flood water to get there, a number of our volunteers were still turned away. I was called back by Sussex Police and told that they would not let our volunteers through the road blocks which were over a mile away from the centre and flood water.

Bunnies released into outdoor pen.

Bunnies released into outdoor pen.

This caused us to have to close the hospital to new admissions and not send ambulances out as a result which was completely unnecessary and pointless by Sussex Police. So those volunteers who managed to get in before the road was closed or who found their way through the back lanes ended up having to work twice as hard doing the feed and clean shift and also having to deal with the clean up operation from our flood.  It was to say the least very frustrating that the Police were encouraging us to break animal welfare laws.

Clean up Operation at WRAS

Clean up Operation at WRAS

It was a very tiring day for all involved especially as we are virtually full with over 230 casualties in care at the moment. We are very limited on what we can take in at the moment as a result. So we are having to recommend people contact other organisations on occasions. Please don’t be rude or accuse us of not caring if we are unable to admit your casualty. We are able to take in way more than ever before but we don’t have the funding to do more than we currently are. Every year we expand.

Clean up Operation at WRAS

Clean up Operation at WRAS

We are now able to admit five times the number of casualties than we were back in 2009. We are getting casualties out for release on a daily basis so what we can and can’t admit changes on a daily basis, so do feel free to contact us.  If we can’t help or it takes a while to return your call, please consider taking your casualty to the nearest emergency vets – they do not charge members of the public for handing in injured wildlife and is the quickest way of getting them pain relief and treatment. Alternatively you can try the RSPCA or other animal welfare charities in the area. Our staff are frequently working 15 hour days at the moment dealing with a huge workload. What would really help would be more people to take out standing orders for as little as £1 a month to help us expand our facilities, without more monthly income we are not currently able to expand anymore.

Duckling in care

Duckling in care

We have just released our first batch of ducklings, but have over 30 more at the Casualty Centre being reared, hopefully it won’t be too long before they can go outside. Our first group of hand reared sparrows has also just been released. A group of our baby bunnies has just moved into one of our outside pens. This group had the early stages of Myxomatosis, which we were able to successfully treat and they are now healthy and awaiting release to the wild. We have also released the ginger dormouse rescued in Chiddingly who was caught by a cat.

Katie with the Princes Park Swan

Katie with the Princes Park Swan

Thursday night last week within a matter of hours we were called to a road casualty pheasant at Hellingly, an injured blackbird from Eastbourne, a young wood pigeon from St Anne’s Vets, a fledgling blackbird at Buxted, a road casualty bat at Vines Cross, and an emaciated hedgehog at Vines Cross.   We also have in care a Long tailed tit, a lovely Goldfinch, a couple of Nuthatches and a road casualty fox cub.

Long Tailed Tit

Long Tailed Tit

It has been a week of swan calls too. We were called down to Peelings Lane pond in Westham after a lady thought the female swan on the nest was dead after not having seen it move.  Luckily when we arrived the swan was fine and preening. We checked on the limping gosling too but the little chap seemed to be coping so was left to stay with it parents.

Road Casualty Fox Cub

Road Casualty Fox Cub

We were called to Princes Park in Eastbourne after reports of a lethargic swan in the outlet stream area.  Rescuers Katie and Chris attended and Katie managed to catch and secure the swan, which was very underweight and rushed up to the Swan Sanctuary for help as we didn’t have room.  We rushed to Sevenoaks Road and Willingdon Drove after reports of the two swans and cygnet from Langney pond causing problems on the road. When we arrived we couldn’t see them on the road, but apparently the police had managed to get them off the road. We did eventually find them in the outlet river and watched them swim under the road and towards Shinewater Park.

Westham Swan Nesting

Westham Swan Nesting

About Trevor Weeks

Trevor Weeks MBE Operations Director for East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) Trevor started undertaking wildlife rescue and conservation work in 1985 when just 13 years old, and his life has been dedicated to the care of wildlife ever since. East Sussex Wildlife Rescue was established as a voluntary group in 1996 and became a registered charity in 2005. WRAS now has four veterinary ambulances and a Casualty Care Centre on the A22 between Hailsham and Uckfield capable of looking after up to 200 casualties at a time. The charity is primarily run by volunteers and relies of donations to fund its award winning life saving service.