Another fatal fox poisoning

trevor weeks column

trevor weeks column

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We have had yet another fatal fox poisoning this week in Eastbourne. The fox was rescued by Tony and Clare in Middleton Drive off Princes Road, Eastbourne. They had a real job trying to catch it and Tony ended up going through three gardens in order to catch the animal. Again like the last one, it was rescued as though it was a road casualty. The poor fox had damage to one of its legs and feet which needed stitching but it wasn’t until the following day that it started showing signs of poisoning. Medication was administered but sadly we had no choice in the end but to have the fox put to sleep. Such a beautiful fox otherwise and such a sad waste of life. As per usual we would recommend people in this area keep a close eye on their pets and seek veterinary advice if you see anything unusual or out of the ordinary.

We now have over 86 hedgehogs in care within WRAS! This is way up on last year. A number of rescue centres across the country are reporting the same thing and some are also having to close their doors as they are full. WRAS is also on the verge of having to do the same. We are trying to balance the bank balance with the number of casualties but this winter is clearly going to be a major problem. So many individuals and small organisations are closing or having to shut their doors to new admissions, the back bone of animal rescue across the UK is struggling to cope with the work load. Often people will donate £5 or £10 when they deliver a casualty or we pick one up but the true costs or much higher. Without being able to seek funding from many larger organisations, including the National Lottery, which do not see so called animal welfare charities as benefiting the community, charities like WRAS struggle and have to rely much more heavily on standing orders, legacies, donations and fundraising.

Do you know someone who is fascinated by hedgehogs and would like to be a hedgehog helper for a morning? Are you struggling to find a suitable present for someone who is mad on hedgehogs? Why not buy them a “Become a Hedgehog Helper” Gift Certificate or even treat yourself? We are offering people the chance to spend the morning working at WRAS feeding and cleaning our hedgehogs, getting to handle some of them, as well as learning more about these fascinating creatures. The three hour placement is a great present and is suitable for anyone over the age of 13 but those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. The day is divided into three sections:

Stage one - will be a look round the hospital where the hedgehogs are currently housed and we will show and explain how they are looked after and over wintered.

Stage two - will be to help our volunteers to catch, clean out and feed some of the hedgehogs.

Stage three - is then to sit down and look at some of the problems hedgehogs face and what you can do to help hedgehogs and to learn when they are in trouble and in need of being rescued.

If any hedgehogs are rescued or admissions take place during your visit you will get the chance to be involved and help out. This three hour placement is available for only a £25 donation to WRAS. We can take up to three people at a time. We cannot guarantee that any hedgehogs will be admitted during the time the “Helper” is present, and placements have to fit in with our regular feed and clean shifts. The placement can take place on Tuesday to Saturday mornings from 10am till 1pm or Thursday evenings between 6pm and 9pm. We hope to make additional times available in future. You can book via our E-bay shop or by e-mailing kathy@eastsussexwras.org.uk.

Many thanks to everyone who came to our Christmas Fair at Westham, last weekend, as well as to our supporters and volunteers who worked so hard beforehand and at the event. We have managed to raise over £413 in Bric a Brac and kitchen sales. We also took another £63 of sales goods. Thanks also to volunteer Heather who has recently raised over £45 in donations and rafflle sales and volunteer Christine who did a hall sale last week taking over £71 in sales and donations. Thank you so much to everyone who is fundraising for us and for helping in other ways, it really does all make such a difference and we couldn’t do it without you.

As already mentioned we have a record 86 hedgehogs in care at the time of year and we are still getting them in under 200g, with the first severe frosts we had nine come in over a 48-hour period, all very small and freezing cold, desperately trying to find food now Mum has hibernated and left them to it. Our first two hedgehogs Pea and Almond, two females, have reached over 800g and have gone into outdoor pens for the winter now with volunteer Yvonne at her ‘hoggery’ where they will be monitored over the winter and allowed to hibernate if they wish. In the spring, they will go back to where they came from. Our male hedgehogs will be placed in larger groups and over winter in our ‘hogstys’ as usual. The females are always a lot lower in number, this year 3/1 male to female. In previous years it has been a 6/1 ratio, the females will be overwintering in groups of two or three at volunteers homes in runs or large hutches. This way we don’t need to worry about any overenthusiastic ‘friendliness’ taking place as we are organising their releases in the spring. You may remember Poppy, the little 170g female hoglet with Pop-Off Syndrome, she is now doing really well and is over 400g with no signs of ill effects. Tweety Pie was the little hedgehog we mentioned a few weeks ago that had severe fly strike, a swollen punctured nose and also a broken jaw. With lots of tlc and sloppy foods that the volunteers have expertly prepared she has gained over 150g and is looking brilliant. We will hope to add more solid food in over the next few weeks as she continues to improve

Trevor Weeks MBE

Founder & Director

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS)

www.wildlifeambulance.org

Office: 01825873003; 24Hr Rescue Line: 07815078234