Buxted residents might have thought Father Christmas and his reindeer had got into trouble on Christmas morning but, thankfully for the village’s children, the emergency turned out to be a trapped woodland deer, not Rudolph himself.
A buck fallow deer had become tangled in electric rope in a field behind Buxted Court. Volunteer rescuers from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue Ambulance Service (WRAS) were called out just after 9am after people reported the deer was not able to get free.
When they arrived. a small herd of does (female deer) were seen with the buck as though they wondered why he could not run away. WRAS founder Trevor Weeks said: “Looking at his markings it was clear he’d been trapped earlier that morning.”
Rescuers Kathy Martyn and Chris Riddington used a walk-towards net to restrict his movement allowing Trevor to grab the buck’s hind legs and pull him to the ground.
Rescuer Laura Carrick threw a blanket over his head, Chris took control allowing Kathy and Laura to cut the rope away. They only had a half-hour window to catch and release the buck or he could have had a heart attack.
Trevor explained: “We could see the deer had been caught for some time and was clearly very stressed and tired. Luckily he had no injuries and the rope was quickly and efficiently removed using cutting equipment.”
In a coordinated effort the deer was released by Chris and Trevor. “We felt so sorry for the deer as he was clearly exhausted and struggled to jump over the fence. We watched him for a while to ensure he was going to be OK. After standing in some trees for a while he then ran off out of sight to recover from his traumatic ordeal” said Chris.
Trevor went on: “Our staff and volunteers work over the festive period and you have to be prepared for anything. It was Chris’s day off but he kindly came out as these rescues need experienced people to be safe. It was good to see the deer run off and know that while everyone tucked into their Christmas dinner and opened presents, this deer was free and not suffering.
“For me this is what Christmas is about, giving to and helping others. A huge thank you to all WRAS’s volunteers and staff for working over Christmas and the New Year.”