TREVOR WEEKS MBE - Hedgehog returned to wild after recovering from cruel treatment

With Chief Inspector Martin Sims and Victoria the hedgehog before she was released to the wild.
With Chief Inspector Martin Sims and Victoria the hedgehog before she was released to the wild.

I am sure most of you remember “Victoria” the hedgehog who was the target of horrifying cruelty at the hands of three boys in Eastbourne and that she luckily recovered and has been returned to the wild thanks to East Sussex WRAS.

Chief Inspector Martin Sims has taken a personal interest in this case and has been keeping me informed. To recap, on 3 September last year, the boys came across the female hedgehog in Victoria Gardens, Eastbourne and then subjected her to extreme abuse, running over her with a mountain bike, prodding her and knocking her with a stick and then using her as a football when she rolled herself up in a sad attempt to protect herself.

The  fox from Firle Road  was treated for hypothermia.

The fox from Firle Road was treated for hypothermia.

The hedgehog was subsequently treated at WRAS’s Casualty Care Centre, being dubbed Victoria due to where she was found. Of the three boys, two of them admitted using Victoria as a football and causing unnecessary suffering. They received cautions and are now spending time working with animals.

The third boy was given a community resolution and told to write a letter of apology for his actions and to reflect upon this matter, which he completed. All three were given strong words of advice regarding their behaviour when they attended for their cautions and community resolution. The boys have all been dealt with via the Youth Offending Team. I am extremely pleased that Sussex Police and especially the officers from Eastbourne Police as well as Chief Inspector Martin Sims ensured the offenders were punished.

Ambulances have responded to a number of call outs this week. What has stood out has been the number of foxes. We have had nine badly injured foxes this week. These have included collapsed foxes in Eastbourne, Bexhill, Hastings, Lewes, Waldron and Heathfield.

One fox from Firle Road in Eastbourne was very hypothermic and picked up late on Friday night, Kathy and I met rescuer Chris at the Casualty Centre and spent over an hour gently warming him up under veterinary instruction. There has also been a road casualty badger at Chalvington which had spinal injuries and sadly had to be put to sleep. We have also had two gulls in this week both caught up in fences. They both have very sore wounds and we hope they will not need long term care and be releasable soon. Kathy is also looking after a young dove and a new young feral pigeon found next to Uckfield Church this week too.

We have also managed to get more of our hedgehogs outside for hibernation. Most rescue centres across the country do not release hedgehogs during the winter because of the risk that the hedgehog may not be able to build a winter nest in time before snow sets in. However during longer mild spells it is possible to release them. The main problem is how unreliable the weather is. Adults are not so much of a problem, but young autumn and winter orphans may well struggle to find sites and materials to build places to hibernate before cold weather causes them to become hypothermic. Studies by St Tiggywinkles have also shown that hedgehogs need to be at least 600grams to stand a good chance of hibernation. It is good for hedgehogs to hibernate, so even those who over winter with us, once healthy, are grouped up and encouraged to hibernate in our aviaries and runs. We find these hedgehogs are normally fitter than those who end up being kept awake throughout winter.

WRAS is doing a collection at Asda Hailsham on the weekend Friday January 31 to Sunday 2nd February. The next Unusual Quiz Night at East Dean Village Hall on March 8. Tickets £10, doors open 7pm.