TREVOR WEEKS MBE - Wildlife needs watering too as summer brings on the heat

Trevor weeks 12-07-13
Trevor weeks 12-07-13

What a hot week, can I please urge everyone to go outside and put out a shallow dish of water for wildlife visiting your garden, we are seeing a number of animals coming in suffering from dehydration.

This is very important, and a life saver.

We raised over £340 at an open garden at Baron Close in Seaford on Sunday which is great considering the tennis was on.

You can see how this garden has won awards, an amazing display of flowers and smells too. I ended up being diverted from the open garden to deal with a badly injured road casualty gull in Seaford. For such a hot weekend it was very busy, and thank you to Murrae, Chris, Tony and Lisa for helping to cover rescues, which included an injured pigeon outside Staples in Eastbourne, a hedgehog out in daylight at Willingdon, a baby hedgehog crossing the car park at the East Sussex National Golf course, a road casualty gull at Sovereign Harbour, a badger fallen into a basement in Hastings, plus many more!

The open gardens at Hailsham on Saturday were amazing too. The five gardens opening together was a great idea and well organised. You can see a number of pictures of the gardens on our facebook page www.facebook.com/wildlifeambulance. We met some wonderful people and I think John Crichton would have been very proud of his family and all their achieved with their open garden.

Wednesday night last week was a long night, I was woken at half past midnight by a caller on the rescue line wanting to know what to do if his cat goes into labour, and when I suggested he should contact his vet for support he said he couldn’t as he was in debt already. I told him he should contact the RSPCA or Cats Protection League, or another cat charity and he said “oh I couldn’t give up my cats” and thought it was cruel to spay and neuter cats. I really hope he did seek advice from his vet.

An hour later I received an emergency call about a deer caught up on the railway line at Uckfield. The male roe deer or Buck had baler twine caught round its antlers and neck which was also attached to a piece of wood caught at the edge of the railway line about 20-30metres away from the Hempstead lane crossing at Uckfield. The deer was spotted by a late night dog walker. When I arrived at the crossing the deer was clearly caught but it was difficult to tell exactly how. My first concern was is there a train due, so I used the phone at the crossing to contact the Signal Box at Oxted who advised that no trains were due.

At first it looked like the baler twine was attached to a piece of wood, but the twine was also caught on part of the track fixings. The deer was stressed and exhausted, and it was clear the deer had to be freed as soon as possible in order to stand any chance of surviving. As I approached to get a better look in the dark the deer flipped over giving me the ideal opportunity to jump it and pin it to the floor. I took the rather risky opportunity and within just a few minutes I was able to cut the deer free and remove the twine which was luckily not tightly attached round the deer’s neck. The deer ran off through the bushes and off into the darkness. It was a good job the deer was spotted when it was or it may have died of stress by the morning or even been hit by an early morning train.

As if this wasn’t enough we then received a call about a badly injured hedgehog in Eastbourne. I rushed to the old town area of Eastbourne where I was presented with a hedgehog with an horrendous injury across it head which was crawling with maggots. I had no choice but to rush the hedgehog to the emergency vets where they ended the poor creatures suffering.

A mother duck and her 11 ducklings ended up having an escort through a housing estate in Hailsham. Five volunteers attended on site to help the family get to their home safely. Local residents of Birch Way, Hailsham called us out WRAS after spotting the duck and ducklings. Ducklings are frequently hatched in gardens and parks as it is safer for them than nesting by a pond, where gulls, mink, cats, foxes, birds of prey, corvids, pike and other predators will be expecting them, so the mother finds a nice quiet garden where they are less likely to be found and she can nest in peace and quiet without even the other male ducks pestering her too. The mother normally knows the route she wants to take back to the pond she has chosen, but as the ducklings are so young and can’t fly she has to walk them, which causes them to get into trouble falling down drains and getting run over. There were several ponds which the mum and ducklings might head for so rescuers decided to give them an escort rather than run the risk of catching them and mum either flying off and abandoning them or taking the ducks and releasing them at the wrong location. We had two rescuers who stayed behind them, two in front to prevent them from heading across drains and a fifth person who was warning approaching traffic. The whole process of escorting them took about 20 minutes as they crossed the housing estate.

Everyone was very helpful and happy to pass carefully and we all kept our distance so mum didn’t feel threatened and comfortable enough to walk in the direct she wanted to go. Some organisations will catch mum and ducklings and move them but on this occasion we didn’t want to run the risk of placing her somewhere she didn’t want to be resulting in her attempting to moving them again later in the day to a different pond and getting run over or something. Mum and ducklings walking to ponds is quite a common occurrence but sadly these journeys often end in disaster with mum and or youngsters being run over and killed. Luckily on this occasion they all safely arrived at their destination. You can watch their escort on our You Tube Channel at www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiVX4dMAT6M

Murrae had a great rescue in Hastings last week, after a badger fell into a basement. The badger fell about 7ft into the basement and couldn’t get out. To complicate matters the owners were out, and the badger had been spotted by a neighbour. Using ladders Murrae was able to climb down into the the basement and catch the badger and get it cages with care. The badger was very lively and Murrae had to take care catching it. There was a woodland at the back of the basement which is where the badger had come from and knowing the badger wouldn’t need to cross any roads, it was released to run off home again.

We also had a call about two trapped hedgehogs at Westham. They have to be the muddiest hedgehogs we have ever had to rescue. They had fallen into a foundation trench on a building site in Pevensey Park Road, Westham.

It is possible they had been there for 2 days. Once out they were taken to WRAS’s Casualty Centre. We named them “Bill and Ben” and set about giving them a good clean and a wash, which they weren’t overly happy about. They both turned out to be boys so we didn’t have to worry about whether they had babies. They stayed at WRAS for six days waiting for the foundation trenches to be filled and finally they were returned and released at the edge of the site to find their way home again.