TREVOR WEEKS MBE - Spring season picks up as more rescues keep us busy

This week has been hedgehog release week. We ended up overwintering 95 hedgehogs, this is down on previous years, which is good for the hedgehog population and a decent Autumn clearly helped last year.

Hedgehogs which we named Lychee, Carrot, Lemon Curd, Sweetcorn, and Snowflake have all been returned to their homes in Eastbourne. Gloves has been returned to Seaford along with Ice in Hailsham and Kale in East Hoathly. Cracker, Rosebud, Papaya and Radish in Polegate plus Reindeer and Cabbage in Lewes have all been gone back to the wild. Most recently Pip from Ditchling, Kumquat and Chilli from Burgess Hill and Timbuktu from Uckfield have been released too as well Cabbage and Reindeer in Lewes.

Anyone waiting for hogs to go home, all the big ones are going first and we are working our way down over the next few weeks, some are amazingly still hibernating.

We have also had in a young hedgehog which may well have been born very early this year. The small hedgehog weighs just 280grams, but is clearly not underweight, just young. As our theme for naming casualties this month is “Things you find in a garage” we have decided to name this hedgehog “Hedgehog”! He was found asleep on a lawn in the daytime, cold and covered in cobwebs.

Rescues are picking up this week and have included 3 pigeons within 30 minutes of each other in Polegate, two window strike birds, an injured duck, an injured goose and a bird stuck in a chimney. There has been a pigeon with an injured wing in Brighton dealt with by volunteers Laura and Faye. Rescue coordinator Chris, has been out to another baby blackbird, roughly the same age as the one we already have. We have had a couple of road casualty rabbits this week, sadly neither of them survived their injuries and died shortly after rescue.

Congratulations to Alice aged 10 who is the winner of the Heathfield Sainsbury Spring Wildlife Colouring Competition. Also thank you to everyone who has been donating to WRAS at the Heathfield Store as we are their chosen charity for the year.

Pain is one of the most overlooked issues when people find wildlife casualties. Giving them rescue remedy, covering a wound in antiseptic cream, or feeding them some antibiotic you have left over from your pet dog or giving just Arnica is NOT going to significantly help a wildlife casualty which is in pain. Wildlife can generally cope with low levels of pain way better than us humans, but if a casualty has a broken leg or wing, has an open wound after being caught by a bird of prey or cat, or even if it has no external injuries but has flown hard into a window or been hit by a car - in order to prevent shock potentially killing the casualty and to prevent the casualty suffering - pain relief is needed. This has to come from a vet, or a rescue centre which works closely with a vet. Such centres will know when such casualties need seeing urgently, or can provide emergency treatment until a vet can see a casualty. PLEASE don’t forget about pain if you find a wildlife casualty and get it help as quickly as possible.

We have had two more Fox cubs come in. The first was collected from Chase Vets in St Leonards. After checking where the cub was found it was quickly apparent that trying to reunite him with mum was going to be impossible. The second was found in the middle of the main road at Horam dodging traffic and was handed in to a local garden centre by a passing motorist. As we don’t know the exact location where it was found we won’t be able to try getting him back to his mum.

We had a muddy rescue at Newhaven after a gull with a fractured wing was found wandering around the Tide Mill Creek at the Port end. WRAS rescuer Chris and I met up with Carrie and Jay from Seahaven Bird Rescue in a joint rescue attempt. Jay and I ended up rather muddy as a result but the gull was eventually rescued and is now in WRAS’s care and the fractured wing is expected to heal well given time.

With the busy spring season well started now, we could really do with extra funding to help with the extra costs, so if you are able to make a donation to WRAS it would be very much appreciated. Or if you are able to take out a standing order for just £2 a month it would be life changing for our wildlife. More information on how to donate is available on our website at www.wildlifeambulance.org.