TREVOR WEEKS MBE - Yet more Tawny owls are being brought in for care

Grass snake from Hailsham

Grass snake from Hailsham

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We have ended up with yet more Tawny owls in care this week. A member of the public kindly took in an owl to Henley House vets in Uckfield which is now with WRAS at our Casualty Care Centre at Whitesmith.

His wing is broken and has been strapped to immobilise the fracture site, and we hope it will make a good recovery. Two of the Tawny owls we had in last week have now been released back to the wild as they were luckily just concussed and shocked.

Tawny owl at Henley House Vets

Tawny owl at Henley House Vets

We would like to thank all the members of Eastbourne Archers for their amazing donation of £3300 to WRAS last week. They very kindly make donations to the Air Ambulance, St Wilfred’s Hospice and East Sussex WRAS, what a great choice of charities. This has been really appreciated and will help us deal with hundreds of casualties.

We had a huge hedgehog weighing over 1.1kg come in from Horam, it was picked up as a precaution as found in the road in the evening. Being rather large we decided to use our ultrasound machine and discovered that she was pregnant. We couldn’t find any signs of injury or illness so after 48 hours observations she was taken back and released again.

This week has seen the start of the pre-baiting and placement of traps for the first ever badger vaccination in East Sussex. Next week we should be able to vaccinate the first badgers too. This is great news for Sussex’s badgers and cattle. WRAS is working closely with and provide vital support to the Sussex Badger Vaccination Project and a number of our volunteers are undertaking the work necessary. This is such a positive way forward. After doing so initial survey work and working out the key target areas, we have been undertaking the pre-baiting placing peanuts down looking at the best locations to trap and vaccinate on the land. We already have the badgers used to taking the peanuts in a couple of areas and traps are being moved into place. At one location a badger has already entered one of the open traps looking for peanuts. We leave the traps wired open for a while they get used to them and don’t see them as a threat. And depending on weather and other environmental factors we will look to vaccinate within the next week our first group of badgers. The site we are working on is not very active, but used more as a foraging site, although there are a few small setts, which are active.

It is good news that we now have four sites in East Sussex where we have landowners happy for us to vaccinate badgers on their land. Because of the sensitive nature of the whole badger, cattle and TB issue WRAS and the Sussex Badger Vaccination Project is extremely appreciative of these landowners for their co-operation and will be treating all locations in the strictest confidence and only showing photos, video footage, or disclosing the locations details with the landowners permission.

Thank you to everyone who came along to our Unusual Quiz Night at East Dean Village Hall last week, it was a great success and our best turn out so far. We are also hosting our ‘Indoor Nature Trail’ at East Dean Village Hall in October. Only £10 for adults and £5 for children, you will have access to local wildlife charities and conservation groups, wildlife artists and photographers as well as guest speakers throughout the day like The Sussex Ornithological Society, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, The Sussex Badger Vaccination Project, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s Specialist Large Animal Rescue Team and myself from WRAS, talking about everything from Badger Vaccination to Dormouse conservation in Sussex. There will be refreshments and a pasta based meal included in the ticket price. To book tickets contact Lindsay on 01825 873003 or email Entrance is throughout the day and ticket holders do not have to stay all day.

We have had a number of grass snake calls this week. Mainly ones caught up in garden netting. One such snake had to be admitted into WRAS’s Care due to a wound at the back of its head which needed suturing. The wound has now healed well enough and the snake has been released back to the wild. In order to help prevent wildlife from becoming caught in netting please try to avoid excess netting being used and keep it as tight as possible make entanglement more difficult. Using a board around the base can also help stop hedgehogs walking into it and becoming caught up.