Wrapped up Warm a road casualty Tawny Owl


A Sussex Charity is gearing itself up for a busy winter after an already busy year taking in sick, injured and orphaned wildlife.


East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) is launching their Winter Warmer Appeal.


Every Autumn and Winter thousands of wild animals and birds up and down the country struggle as the temperature drops and winter sets in.  Hedgehogs abandon their last litter of young to go off and hibernate. Parent birds start concentrating on building up fat reserves to survive the winter and stop helping their young.  Some young animals and birds out in the wide world for the first time struggle to cope. The low sun causes birds to crash into windows.  As the nights draw in birds of prey, foxes, heron and badgers hunting and foraging for food on grass verges come into conflict with our busy roads users too.


Wildlife animals and birds won’t know its Christmas, they will see it as just another day of the year. They still get sick from drinking anti-freeze polluted water, or injured after being caught by a cat, dog or other predator and even caught in fishing line or entangled in a disused football goal. As we clear away and tidy up our gardens nests of hibernating hedgehogs are disturbed or dug up.

A cosy badger in a warm straw bed at WRAS’s Casualty Centre

Right across the autumn, winter and festive period East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service will be on duty responding to as many emergency calls as possible 24 hour a day 7 days a week.   “Our staff and volunteers will be working hard every single day come rain, shine, wind or snow looking after our wildlife casualties” said WRAS founder Trevor Weeks MBE.   By the 1st October 2017 WRAS had already dealt with at least 323 more casualties than the same time 2016 which is 14% raise, with the total number of casualties for 2017 already over 2650 (by 20th October).


“Support from the public is what keeps our ambulances on the road and our Casualty Centre operational.  Those who make a one off donation or take out a standing order donation with us are life savers and make a huge impact on what we do. There are too few organisations and individuals undertake wildlife rescue work across the country so it is vital that people support charities like ours or our wildlife will be left to a very grim fate” said Trevor Weeks.

A cosy hedgehog wrapped in a towel

Trevor Weeks explains a few things people can do during the winter to help our wildlife neighbours:


  1. Ensure there is fresh water available.  All wild animals and birds need to drink, having defrosted water available help prevent wildlife as well as pets to avoid drinking out of puddles which could have road salt or even anti-freeze dissolved in them which can cause serious health issues or prove fatal.
  2. Feeding wildlife during hard weather is always beneficial, however over feeding and putting out too much food can cause a localised over population of any species of wildlife which then encourage the spread of diseases. It is also important for feeders to be clean, and disinfected on a regular basis, ideally at least once a week. Clearing up any dropped food and faeces underneath bird feeds is important to help prevent fungal and parasitic infections from developing too.
  3. Shelter is important. Providing rabbit hutches, cat boxes, hedgehog boxes, toad and frog houses, insect homes and nest boxes in appropriate places in your garden can help provide much needed shelter. If you already have a shelter ensure you don’t disturb anything which might already be using it. Try placing some fresh, straw, dried grass, dried leaves next to the shelter during dry nights and your local wildlife will find this useful.   Long strands of animal hair can cause ligature wounds so this is best avoided.


It doesn’t take much to make a big difference to those creatures which have no owners to look after them, or help them when unwell.


WRAS is warning people not to take in young wildlife thinking it is just a case of feeding them up and placing them somewhere warm this winter. “We often get calls from people who are very well meaning and taken in a wild animals or bird thinking they are just young and need feeding only for the to go down hill and then we get the call for help once they are too ill to survive. So always get any wild animal or bird properly checked over by a wildlife rescue organisation.”


This Autumn and Winter please help support East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) to look after as many at risk wildlife as possible.


More information is available at http://wildlifeambulance.org/donate/winter-warmer-appeal/  and donations can also be made at https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/eastsussexwras/winterwarmer


Or post a donation to: East Sussex WRAS, Winter Warmer Appeal, PO Box 2148, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 9DE.




To arrange additional photos, interviews or to film at WRAS’s Casualty Centre please contact Trevor Weeks on 01825-873003.



Trevor Weeks MBE

Founder & Operations Director


East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS)

Reg Charity 1108880


Office: 01825-873003

24Hr Rescue Line: 07815-078234

Trevor’s Private Mobile: 07931-523958



Unit 8 The Shaw Barn, Whitesmith, East Sussex, BN8 6JD.