TREVOR WEEKS - Despite the bitter weather – a quiet week for rescues

The three fox cubs
The three fox cubs

It’s been a fairly quiet week for rescues luckily for the wildlife out there.

We have had a number of calls this week though, including a catted Blackbird in Seaford which disappeared before rescuers arrived, a starling flying round a loft which managed to escape on its own as rescuers arrived, a jackdaw trapped behind gas fire which was released by a local gas engineer.

Trevor Weeks 29-03-13

Trevor Weeks 29-03-13

We were also called to a starling trapped behind an electric fire in Seven Sisters Road in Willingdon too. Using a sheet over the fire place, the electric fire was slowly removed and the starling caught safely without the stress of it flying round the room. We always check them over to ensure they are not too underweight or injured, which luckily this one wasn’t. We were able to go outside and release the bird which flew off at speed and luckily not straight back to the chimney! You can see a video of the rescue and release along with over 200 other videos at www.youtube.com/user/eastsussexwras.

Rescuer Dave attended an emergency call to a very poorly hedgehog in Seaford last week. The hedgehog was found out during the day light, quite underweight, very cold and covered in loads of ticks. Despite treatment the poor creature passed away overnight. Another hedgehog also came in from Horam, again seen out during the day. He was only 450grams and probably just woken up from hibernation. He is a lot fitter than the hedgehog from Seaford, and has not needed any treatments yet and is under observation and checking for internal parasites.

Thank you to everyone who came along to our Unusual Quiz Night at East Dean Village Hall at the weekend. It was a great evening, a real laugh, great food and thank you to Kate and Jamie for manning the Bar, Kathy and Hannah for being the servers, as well as Brian for cooking and preparing the tasty food, and poor Monica with her broken ankle who sat at the door booking people in. This has been our most successful Unusual Quiz Night yet, and took a profit of over £500.

We are hopefully now getting to the final stage rehabilitating our overwintering hedgehogs of which we have had around 115. The unpredictable weather at the moment is not helping us at all and it is difficult to plan ahead with regards to starting the releases as the weather seems to be changing on a daily basis. We certainly won’t be beginning any releases until the beginning of April, and then it is weather dependant as the last thing we want to do after nursing the hogs back to health all winter is to release them and then we get horrible snow again! We have to give them the best chance of survival, when the night time temperatures become milder, with much less risk of snow, we can then consider starting to release them. With regard to the releases many of you who have passed hedgehogs on to us for care will be receiving phone calls throughout April from Kathy, arranging suitable times and dates for our volunteers to return the hogs to your garden. If you are local to the centre and would like to collect your hedgehog then we can arrange that, just let Kathy know when you speak to her.

At the moment we have 31 male hogs down at our hogstys in 3 large groups, many of them are now itching to go back to the wild and are great weights, which will set them up well for the first few weeks back foraging for food for themselves. Thank you to all our volunteers who have been feeding and cleaning them, which is quite a job and rather smelly and dirty at times. Big thanks also go to a number of our other volunteers who have been overwintering over 50 female and male hogs at their homes, in either hutches or sheds in their gardens. They are also doing really well, some of them are still hibernating which is great to see as it is natural behaviour and good for their health.

It is amazing to see some of our most poorly hedgehogs now outside, doing so well, you may remember us talking about some of them when they first came in – little Nemo and Crocodile, so ill they could not stand and were wobbling all over the place, they are now over 900g and it really does make you realise what we all do this for when you see these little characters pull through like they have done.

A couple of our more recent hedgehogs who were victims of gardening accidents when disturbed in hibernation are also doing great. Nidoran is the hedgehog who was impaled on a garden fork. She is now in an outside run weighing a kilo, and Gnasty the little boy who had the remnants of a horribly infected rear leg, where it had been caught by a strimmer, is also doing brilliantly and will be fit for release in the spring. We still have around 30 hedgehogs indoors at the centre at various stages of their rehabilitation, but many of them are no longer on any medication and are just piling on the last few grams before they are ready to go outside.

On Monday we were called out by Beachwood Vets in Seaford after a gentleman from three fox cubs out on his lawn. They were very small with their eyes and ears still shut only a matter of days old. It was clear from how they were found that they were more likely to be an abandonment or orphaned situation rather than their mum trying to move them from one location to another. They were very cold and rather lethargic when picked up. They were taken on by WRAS Carer Monica in Eastbourne who is now hand rearing them at home. Once old enough they will come to the centre and eventually go outside and be rehabilitated back to the wild.