This week has been one of those weeks where it has been all or nothing.
We have had manic moments when there has been too much to handle and moments when there have been no calls at all.
We dealt with three deer this week. Two of them were road casualties close to our centre at Whitesmith on the A22. As with most road casualty deer they were severely injured. One was put to sleep, the other died on the roadside. We attended onsite to keep the deer safe till a deer warden could arrive. One of them was in an area covered by deer signs. Despite our ambulance being parked up with orange hazard beacons on, vehicles were being very impatient zooming past with absolutely no consideration for those on the roadside clearly dealing with a situation. Please slow down at night and drive carefully, especially on rural roads at this time of year.
The third deer was a fully grown fallow buck with full palmate antlers caught up in rope. The rope had been used to mark off an area of a field. At some point, the buck had lifted his head while grazing and became caught up. The location was near Westfield, Battle, and it took 45 minutes to arrive on site. I was at Glynde when I received the radio call, so I asked for Kathy and Chris to drive across from the centre and meet me there.
On site, we quickly found the deer, but we kept our distance to avoid frightening it more before the rescue was put in place. Within five minutes Chris and Kathy had arrived so we got the equipment moved into the field.
It was not an easy rescue and before Kathy and I had a chance to negotiate the rope either side of the deer, the deer came towards us and became entangled. Twisting around the deer was not caught properly in the net, making my job harder to gain control of the deer. I jumped onto its back but the deer moved meaning my legs were at risk of being kicked and seriously injury, but I was able to roll myself further over its body pinning it to the floor. I thought I was going to end up with an injury to one of my legs. It certainly didn’t go as I would have liked, but that’s one of the problems of dealing with unpredictable wild animals.
Once on top of the deer, its head was covered and Chris and Kathy then move in to start cutting the rope. We were lucky as most of the line was going between the two antlers which made our job much easier to cut the rope. When it gets wrapped round just one antler the line can be much more difficult to cut free. Once you have control of the deer they will normally at some point make a struggle for freedom, and you have to be ready for it and react. When this huge buck decided to kick off again, it was a struggle to keep control.
With the rope cut free, and the net removed, Kathy and Chris moved away, and I composed myself ready to set the deer free. This in itself is not an easy thing to do and with the deer in an awkward position on the ground, I had to get up and move away quick to avoid being hit by the antlers.
It was such a relief to see him spring to his feet and run off across the field to freedom! Well worth the effort by everyone.
We still have tickets left for our Christmas Celebration on December 12 at the Cumberland Hotel. They are only £17.50 per person and in aid of WRAS. For more information please visit ttp://wildlifeambulance.org/wrass-christmas-celebration/
We have double the number of casualties in care at WRAS this week, mainly with hedgehogs coming into care. It was the right call to bring in an adult female hedgehog which we have named “Turnip” from Horsted Keynes as she has low levels of lungworm and Coccidia, we hope after treatment she can go home to hibernate instead of staying with us.
The soaking wet little hedgehog called “Lychee” from Eastbourne is also still with us, sadly another hog in from Westham with a damaged eye has gone to the vet for a decision to be made on him, but we believe he has no eyesight at all in either eye and is very thin as well. We rushed down to the centre to deal with a little hedgehog called “Carrot” because his sibling sadly didn’t make it when he came in last week; he did test positive for lungworm and Capillaria as expected so another good call. Another young hedghog came in from Seaford sadly with a missing leg and extensive maggot infestation and was put to sleep by the vets. Better news is that we have the sibling of “Kale” now in from East Hoathly, called “Tattie”. “Kale” has lungworm and Capillaria so we suspect “Tattie” also does, as well as a touch of ringworm but are awaiting a poo sample from him. Another youngster “Swede” has also come in from Eastbourne with damage to his jaw, and another hog in from Burgess Hill who is not using one of his front legs and both booked in for the vets to assess.
Off duty rescuer Lisa, has picked up a young gull who was sitting, obviously quite stunned, in the middle of the road. He is possibly an RTA. He has now been bedded down at the center to recover. Our Stock Dove from Laughton has now made a full recovery and was also released this week. You can see him being released on our YouTube page where there are now over 300 videos, just visit www.youtube.com/user/eastsussexwras. We have also managed to get out a few more of our pigeons for release too.