Catted Grass Snake from Peacehaven

Catted Grass Snake from Peacehaven

I need your help! I am growing more and more concerned about my fellow staff and volunteers. They are working so hard and such long hours at the moment, that they really need a boost.  It would really help boost their flagging and tired bodies if people would send in thank you cards and message of encouragement, if you are able to make a donation at the same time that would help even further. Just send them to East Sussex WRAS, Unit 8 The Shaw Barn, Whitesmith, BN8 6JD.  Our Casualty Manager Kathy has had her busiest summer season rearing over 50 collared dove compared to less than 10 last year. This week she has taken on 18 new baby pigeons and doves at home, sadly two have died but the rest are doing very well.  Her day starts at 7am with four of them being so young they have to be fed every two hours till 7pm in the evening. She is also looking after 19 hedgehogs which include two mums with babies.

Baby Rabbit being reared by WRAS Orphan Team

Baby Rabbit being reared by WRAS Orphan Team

Chris and Katie have worked very hard and many very long hours too.  With a new baby bunny in care, and young hedgehogs at the centre some of which have to go home with staff.  We have had so many casualties in care with open wounds and trauma from small birds being caught by cats and birds of prey to road casualties too. Our veterinary and care teams have had to work hard this week suturing these wounds and thank you to vets at Henley House in Uckfield and to our vets Mike Symons and Simon Harris for working hard supporting us especially Mike out of hours recently as its been busy with road casualties too.

Injured Gull from Cuilfail Tunnel Roundabout

Injured Gull from Cuilfail Tunnel Roundabout

Tuesday last week turned into a busy day. My first call was just after 5am. My first rescue was to a gull in the Waitrose car park in Lewes which couldn’t stand or fly. I was able to quickly get the bird into the ambulance and headed across to our centre at Whitesmith. On my way back I received a call about a hedgehog stuck under a fence in Ringmer. The hedgehog had her head wedged under a fence. I used a hammer as a lever to lift the fence slightly to help release the pressure and free the hedgehog.  Back at WRAS I assessed the hedgehog, it was clear she had a rather large tummy. An ultrasound showed she was pregnant and fairly advanced too. We decided to bed her down at our special Hedgehog Maternity Unit in Uckfield  in case she gave birth during the day, then started planning to release her that night.  That evening we boxed her up and took her back to Ringmer quite late waiting for the traffic to be quiet and safer. We monitored the release to ensure she went off ok as we were worried that the pathway we found her in was surrounded by fences. She luckily wandered off into the housing estate and away from the main road. Back at home I was settling down about to fall asleep when I was then called to a road casualty fox on the A27 between Beddingham and Lewes, and a young hedgehog in Spences Lane Lewes.  In both cases the finders were not prepared to wait and sadly the fox was flattened and the hedgehog disappeared. Being so tired I headed to WRAS’s Casualty Centre being closest and crashed out on my office floor for the rest of the night just after 4am.  It was only two and a half hours later that the phone started ringing again.  I managed to keep myself awake throughout the day drinking plenty of coffee.  Thursday night whilst trying to fall asleep I was called out to a road casualty fox on Eastbourne Road Uckfield. I was on site within 15minutes and managed to catch the fox which was dragging it rear legs. I gave emergency first aid when rushed down to our vet Mike but sadly the fox died just before I arrived.  Now at almost 1am the rescue phone rang again with a call about a hedgehog with breathing difficulties in Sun Star Lane Polegate. I headed up there to have a look and discovered a poorly hedgehog with a snotty nose and very chesty. So he was wrapped up and taken to our Casualty Centre for care.  I finally get home about 3am. The past couple of months has been like this and my colleague Chris and I are both finding ourselves struggling with the long hours, but we don’t want to let the animals or our supporters down.

Ringmer Hedgehog

Ringmer Hedgehog

WRAS rescuer Dave Novell was called to try and catch a gull on the Cuilfail Tunnel roundabout but due to the volume of traffic it was too dangerous for both the gull and Dave to attempt a rescue on his own. We had to wait a couple of hours before sending three rescuers down and slowed traffic enough for the gull to be captured and brought into care.

All credit to RSPCA Inspector Tony Woodley who has managed to step in for us and rescue a badly injured pigeon on Lewes Railway Station after staff at the station were unwilling to help WRAS rescuers deal with a young pigeon on the railway line next to the electric rail. The poor pigeon was badly injured and nobody was interested in helping stating it was too dangerous, they can’t turn the power off, nothing they could do, and even after speaking to Network Rail I was told they were doubtful anything could be done. After reporting the incident to the RSPCA their call centre was very helpful and understanding. As the RSPCA know the legal side of things better, and that they have more clout, I hoped that the station would be more likely to listen and pay attention to what was being said. Eventually the call was passed out to local RSPCA officers and to my relief RSPCA Inspector Tony Woodley who I used to work with at BDMLR. He very kindly agreed to get involved. I am pleased to say that his diplomacy and years of experience has lead to the safe rescue of the pigeon and the removal of numerous other dead birds from the railway line. The poor injured pigeon is now being put to sleep due to its obviously serious injuries, but that is far better than being left to suffer. The Station Manager has agreed to look at their pest control arrangements as their current shooting of pigeons occasionally is an inappropriate form of control. The RSPCA has also advised them that the new pigeon netting which is going to be erected is going to cause them problems if it is not done correctly and especially if it is not maintained regularly too. Big thank you to the RSPCA for stepping in.

Two of Kathys new hatchling  pigeons

Two of Kathys new hatchling pigeons

 

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.