TREVOR WEEKS MBE - More landowners sign up for badger vaccination

The tawny owl was one of two birds of prey that needed rescue this week
The tawny owl was one of two birds of prey that needed rescue this week

This week sees us finish our first badger vaccination site at the Sussex Horse Rescue Centre near Uckfield.

Although the Horse Sanctuary is not a cattle farm, there is a neighbouring land which is used to graze cattle and obviously badgers roam so it is useful to vaccinate them.

Some people have asked why we spend over two weeks pre-baiting but this is to help ensure the most efficient capture rate. You always put more traps out than required to ensure you catch as many as possible and return a second night and sometimes a third to catch any which were missed the previous nights. But we don’t need to catch all the badgers to be successful, getting a high enough percentage of badgers in an area will greatly reduce the chances of badgers passing TB to cattle. We are really pleased that we now have four other landowners who want us to vaccinate badgers on their land.

As my partner Kathy lives very close to the Horse Rescue Centre and badgers pass along the lane to the fields, her garden has been added onto the licence and we will be catching and vaccinating them too. It made us laugh at 5am Sunday morning when one of the badgers had managed to open the hutch where Kathy stored the peanuts and was inside trying to open the bag to get to them!

It has been a lot of hard work but with Kathy, Kate, Lindsay and Chris having come out and helped it has been made a lot easier and hopefully I’m a bit fitter as a result too! Please support the Sussex Badger Vaccination Project and find out more by visiting their website

We are hosting a Bingo Night in Hailsham on Saturday September 6, entry is free and boards are only £1 all night. It is being held at Hailsham’s Civic Community Hall, Vicarage Lane, Hailsham, BN27 1BG. Games start at 7pm. Prizes on offer include food vouchers, high street vouchers, beauty vouchers and many more. The best thing is that all the money raised goes to help us help sick and injured wildlife.

We have had a herring gull in with a piece of render bead - rigid wire mesh – caught on its beak.The wire had damaged one side of the beak as well as injuring the tongue. The gull was taken to our vet Mike who helped remove the mesh and pin the damaged section of beak back together. The poor chap was very sore the following day, and we have had to hand feed him all week, but he is now getting more and more used to his beak and starting to take small pieces of fish for himself. He is not out of the woods yet, but fingers crossed he will make a full recovery.

Big thank you to Henley House Vets in Uckfield this week for seeing a number of casualties at short notice as well as to Cliffe Vets in Lewes. Both practices have helped us out with birds of prey this week. Cliffe vets helped us with a kestrel and Henley House have helped us with a tawny owl.

Sussex Police called WRAS out to a swan which crashed onto Priory Road at Langney, Eastbourne, last week. He has stayed with us overnight. Rescuer Tony rescued the swan which was taken to WRAS’s Casualty Care Centre for recuperation. After a check up the swan was fit enough for released.

We have also had a rather poorly hedgehog which was rescued in Surrey Road, Seaford, with a nasty wound on his back. It has now been cleaned up and treated and is likely to take a while to recover. The wound is wider than we would like but in hedgehogs we find these open wounds heal fairly well as long as they are kept clean and treated with antibiotics. As to the cause of the wounds, we think it is likely to be a spade or strimmer injury.

In case you have not looked at our website recently, it has now changed so please check out our new style website, hope you like it! Thank you to Aura Beckhöfer-Fialho and Charlie Abbott for all their work in getting this up and running!

Rescuers were called to a young gull in Upperton Road, Eastbourne. A member of public was trying to usher him out of the busy road, but sadly he was still struck by a passing motorist. Luckily he was picked up out of the road and the caller waited for our ambulance to arrive. The gull is in shock but no obvious external injuries, fingers crossed he will be OK. When these youngsters fledge they can be on the ground for quite a while and often get themselves into trouble on the roads and do get struck by vehicles. Unfortunately some people do hit them on purpose. Gulls are protected under the wildlife and countryside act 1981, this makes it an offence to intentionally injure or kill a gull. If you do run over an animal and if safe to do so, please stop and check if it is OK. If you are worried at all contact your nearest wildlife rescue organisation or if severely injured you can take the casualty to a vets, all responsible and caring vets do not charge members of the public who hand in wildlife casualties.

Finally, I would like to thank our orphan rearing team who have almost finished their shifts for the summer baby bird rearing, virtually all our baby birds have now grown up and gone into outside pens for release if not already released.

This is a very labour intensive job, and the team has been very well co-ordinated by our Centre Manager Lindsay. Kathy is still hand rearing baby pigeons and doves which come in all year round too. Thank you to you all for working so hard this summer and for helping out so much.