Trevor with swan from Ditchling

Trevor with swan from Ditchling

Every New Year we see a shift  in the type of calls we receive, and the beginning of this year has been no exception. The number of calls we receive about hedgehogs drops and calls to swans and foxes increases.

Rescuers Tony, Chris and I rushed to the aid of two swans which crashed onto Lottbridge Drove in Eastbourne last week.  We had several calls from members of the public driving along the dual carriageway.  As there were two swans, Tony attended from Polegate, Chris and I attended from Whitesmith.  We had to stop the traffic for a couple of minutes whilst the swans were caught, to avoid them causing an accident, but the road was quickly cleared and back to normal once the swans were safely inside our ambulance.  We followed Tony across to Princes Park where they were released together.

We were also called out to Ditchling Common after a lady phoned out of concern for a young swan and sent us a photo.  Unfortunately it was quite late in the day so we only had a hour or so of day light left, so Chris, Dave and I jumped in the ambulance and rushed across to the pond.  The swan’s necked seemed enlarged, and one of the fishermen mentioned he could see fishling line.  Chris and I wearing dry suits entered the water, backed up by Dave in our small inflatable boat.  Working in semi darkness we managed to separate the swan from the adults and luckily the young swan decided to swim up the inlet stream making capture much easier.  Using a net I was able to catch the swan and bring it to the bank and secure it.  We loaded up our rescue equipment back into our ambulance and drove back to our Casualty Centre.  The swan had a “Chin strap” where fishing line was going under the beak and both end going down the throat.  After seeking advice from the Swan Sanctuary we decided to rush the swan up to them so it could be x-rayed and treated that evening.  They have been able to remove the line and the swan is now in a much more comfortable condition.

Swan release at Princes Park

Swan release at Princes Park

Calls to foxes in January and February are normally very depressing, as usually they are too severe to treat. We received a call to a road casualty fox in Sutton Road Seaford, we were delayed getting their due to the flooding at Alfriston, but rescuers Jen and Martin were able to find the fox, catch it and then rushed it to the emergency vets at New Priory Veterinary Hospital in Brighton where they confirmed the fox had a severely broken spine so sadly had to be put to sleep. Rescuer Tony also rushed to a fox at South Malling, Lewes, which had some nasty old infected bit wounds round its rear legs. The emaciated fox, was not in a good condition, and with such extensive injuries yet again the fox had to be put to sleep.  On Saturday rescuers received a call just after 1am after callers found a very cold and wet fox thrashing about on its side in Heathfield. Sadly this fox too did not survive due to an old fracture and wound and septicaemia.  Our emaciated fox from Framfield is still recovering, and has really improved. From being so very thin, covered almost completely in mange, and unable to use his rear legs properly, he is now up and running around, but just needs a bit more muscle tone in his rear legs before he can be released.  The Sainsburys fox with the broken ribs has been released now too.

Congratulations to WRAS supporter Mrs Eaton who has won £250 via our Weather Lottery! We have quite a few supporters who now play this to raise money for WRAS.  If you would like to join our Weather Lottery and help raise money for WRAS go to to find out more details.

Selecting the days carefully to avoid the rain, we were able to get a few birds back out for release before the cold and stormy weather arrive and caused the flooding. A feral pigeon back to his flock in Seaford, a sparrow who had the most awful black eye and was flying into things, and an adult wood pigeon who had severe canker all went home. The wood pigeon at first we were not sure was going to be treatable but thankfully he was a gentle calm pigeon who helped us to help him, instead of a manic feather dropping one which would fight us constantly.

Other calls this week have included a call to a feral pigeon from Cade street. Suffering from superficial wounds to his chest and a fair amount of bruising, our vets have cleaned him up and medicated him. He is now relaxing in his 5 star accommodation with a nice bowl of seed. We had a hedgehog in from Northway Seaford that is too small to hibernate and just under 400 grams. There was a pheasant which has come in from Uckfield with a damaged leg. WRAS rescuer Chris also dealt with an injured rabbit found on the railway crossing at Pevensey, The rabbit was having trouble standing, staff from the station contained the rabbit until rescuers could arrive. The rabbit is now at our Casualty Centre.

Pheasant from Uckfield

Pheasant from Uckfield


Trevor Weeks MBE

Founder & Operations Director

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS)

Reg Charity 1108880

Reg Address: 8 Stour Close, Stone Cross, BN24 5QU

Hospital Address: Unit 8 The Shaw Barn, Whitesmith, Lewes, BN8 6JD

24hr Rescue Line: 07815-078234

Private Mobile: 07931-523958

An award winning community charity.

IFAW Animal Action Award Winners 2010

ITV1 British Animal Honours Awards Local Charity of the Year 2013

BBC Radio Sussex & Surrey Community Heroes Award for Animal Welfare 2012