TREVOR WEEKS: Police called in after latest seagull shooting incidents

X-ray showing air pellet in Polegate gull SUS-170507-091922001
X-ray showing air pellet in Polegate gull SUS-170507-091922001

Every year we take on students from surrounding colleges to give them experience in working in a busy wildlife hospital.

We are holding a few open days for students this year wishing to take part in a placement with us.

It will take two hours and involve a quick induction and a tour. If you are interested in a placement for 2017/18 please contact centre manager Chris Riddington using his email chris@eastsussexwras.org.uk to book a slot on 15th and 16th July or 5th and 6th August between 10am and 4pm.

Hardly a week goes by now without us being called out to birds which have been shot.

This week it was two birds at Sayerlands Road Polegate. WRAS took the call just after lunch on Sunday, regarding an injured gull by the roadside, possible hit by a car. Chris Riddington rushed to the site and came across an adult gull walking along the path. When he first saw it, it didn’t look injured. He pulled over and walked over to it and spotted blood on its wing. He was able to grab a net and managed to catch it quite easily. When he examined the bird he soon noticed a puncture wound, indicative of a shot puncture. Fearing this was the case he searched the area to see if the culprits were in the area still.

It was not long before Chris spotted another gull on the grass verge further along the road. He was quite upset to see another gull covered in blood. He picked the gull up and it had a nasty fractured wing and a shot wound to his chests.

Both gulls were rushed to our out of hours vets Mike Symons who saw them straight away. Sadly one of the gulls injuries was too severe and had to be put to sleep. Both gulls were subsequently X-rayed and the evidence was clear that they had in fact been shot. Sussex Police were called and attended on site and will be doing door to door questioning around the area. They are asking for anyone with any information to come forward and call Sussex Police on 101 stating ref 632 of 02/07/2017.

There has been quite a few comments and photos circulating on social media about culprits of this any other incidents of people and pets being shot with catapults and air rifles in the Cuckoo Trail area near Polegate.

If you see anyone with such weapons out in a public area please contact Sussex Police and report them and don’t be frightened of dialling 999 if you are in the process of witnessing an offence occurring.

We have had more than 19 incidents in two months now, and sadly not much appears to be happening to stop this from occurring.

It makes you wonder when it will end and what level of suffering needs to be caused before anyone will start taking these incidents seriously.

Saturday we received a Stoat from Iford near Lewes via Raystede after being found by the road being attacked by crows. Completely flat out on arrival, our care team had to act quick to save its life. After fluids and first aid was given they started introducing him to some cat food which really started to get his attention. After a few days rest he was taken back and released back where found.

Our ambulances have been rushing round all over the place dealing with gull chicks fallen off roof tops. If a gull chick falls of the roof please do not just take it to a local beach and release it. Fluffy nestling gulls need to either stay where they are, go back on the roof or come into care. They rely on their parents for food and protection. Taking them to the beach and releasing them will cause them to be attacked by other gulls and be vulnerable to predators. It could be classed as an offence under the Abdonment of Animals Act by dumping them on the beach. For further advice on gull chicks please visit our website: www.wildlifeambulance.org.

I spent last Friday with members of Eastbourne Borough Council’s Neighbourhood First Team meeting local youngsters to help them learn about the environment and wildlife. Our Educational Trailer and one of our Veterinary Ambulances was present and I spent time with the children showing them some of the equipment we carry on board and telling them about the casualties we deal with.

East Sussex WRAS was established as a voluntary group in 1996, but some of its rescuers have been rescuing since 1985. The organisation was set up in order to provide a front-line rescue service for wildlife casualties who unlike their domesticated cousins, do not have owners to help look after them.

Every year between 2-3,000 calls are made to WRAS’s rescue line.

Our rescuers are all volunteers and are funded by kind donations from the public.