TREVOR WEEKS MBE - Cold nights mean hogs still in winter hibernation mode

The road casualty for from Brighton which was operated on for a broker hind femur.

The road casualty for from Brighton which was operated on for a broker hind femur.

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We have been out to this two- to three-week-old fox cub at St Leonards this week.

We arrived on site to find the cub had disappeared, but after a search of the garden he was found hiding in a corner. He was lively and certainly put up a fight when I tried to pick him up. He was certainly healthy and in good condition and was not showing any signs of having been abandoned or orphaned. His earth was close by in the same garden, so we decided to leave him be as he was probably just an adventurous cub wondering where his mum had gone. He has been left for his mum to sort out, but the owner of the house is going to keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn’t get into trouble.

The hogs are starting to come out of winter hibernation

The hogs are starting to come out of winter hibernation

Monica Gosden who lived next to Hailsham Common Pond for many years and was known by many for feeding the ducks at the pond, passed away a couple of weeks ago. Her funeral took place this week at Hailsham Cemetery. I can remember when I first started rescuing wildlife and undertaking conservation work back in the 1980s. She was very supportive and I worked closely with her to try and improve the pond and save it from disaster. She was a wonderfully caring lady. I will certainly miss her, as will the wildlife of Hailsham.

Although the days are quite warm at the moment, the nights are still very cold in the main, and most of our outside hogs are still hibernating. Those coming in from the wild are in poor conditions, large females in general, very underweight and with mites and infections. There is not much sign of the healthy wild hogs awake yet but it is certainly starting. We are still getting more of our overwintered hogs out into runs and hutches to let them acclimatise, and in fact still hibernate if they want to, which many have done as soon as they go outside. Some hogs, that Kathy has at home, have slept solidly since early December. Over this kind of period asleep they gradually lose small regular amounts of weight each week, but now is the time to bring three of them back in and let them wake up naturally in an unheated room. We only do this if their weight drops below a certain level. These girls are fit and healthy, but will now have time to wake up in their own time, put weight on and be released at the same time as the larger hogs, ready for breeding season. It also gives us a chance to get some of our remaining larger hogs outside for a while before release.

Ambulances have been out this week dealing with an injured duck at Newhaven; a poorly pigeon on a driveway in Eastbourne; a blackbird caught by a cat in Willingdon; a starling trapped in a house in Stone Cross; an injured hedgehog in Lewes with a damaged leg; a Jay unable to fly in Eastbourne; a fox collapsed in a garden in Uckfield; a stunned blue tit from Langney; an injured pigeon at Sussex Police’s Custody Centre in Hammonds Drive Eastbourne; an injured hedgehog in Polegate; an injured collared dove in Westham; an injured gull in Pembury Road, Eastbourne; a call about a bat near Chiddingly; a pigeon which wasn’t flying in Eastbourne; a jackdaw stuck in a chimney in Jevington and a female pheasant was collected from Deanland Wood Park near Golden Cross which is extremely emaciated and now at the centre for treatment. And that’s just to name a few, so it’s certainly getting much busier.

We are looking to hold a recruitment day soon to take on more rescuers and volunteers at the centre in order to improve our service as more and more often we are finding people calling on us for help as no one is available especially at night.

Currently most night-time calls are covered by Tony and I and if we have been busy all day it is really difficult for us to work through the night too, and there have been occasions when I have slept through rescue calls due to being so tired.

It just shows how important WRAS’s service is and how few organisations work out of hours. We had a call to a road casualty fox in Brighton at the weekend at 3am, the caller told us that despite containing various other organisation WRAS was the only one available. The fox was concussed and given emergency medication and has been at New Priory Vets at Brighton to have an operation to fix a fractured right hind femur. We have seen so many badly injured foxes over the past six to eight months with nasty compound fractures, badly infected injuries and too flat to operate on that this fox is a real breath of fresh air that we can operate on, save and return to the wild. Thank you to New Priory Vets in Brighton for their support.

My weekly sponsored weight loss update: I have now lost 5.3kg since January 14 and now weigh 93.6kg. Your support has been really encouraging. Please support me at http://www.justgiving.com/trevsweightloss

What an amazing night at the underground theatre at the weekend. Thank you to everyone who attended and enjoyed a dance and a drink in aid of WRAS at our “Rockin 4 Wildlife” night, we made a profit of over £360. A huge thank you to all those who donated to our raffle on the night including: Nifty Gifty, Pizza stop, Soul to Sole and Shabbychic Signs. Thank you to Charlotte, Andrew, Kirsti, Jenny and the staff of the underground theatre for keeping things running backstage and jdunvillephotography for the photography. Last but not least a massive thank you to Knocksville, Gary Page and the Atomic Hotshots for their services. Everyone who took part gave their time for free to help us raise even more money, so thank you!