Dramatic deer rescue in Abbots Wood

Rescuers with the deer at the scene.
Rescuers with the deer at the scene.

VOLUNTEERS RESCUERS from Uckfield and Polegate rushed to the aid of a young juvenile female roe deer caught in stock fencing in Abbots Wood, Arlington.

Several dog rescuers saw the 18kg deer caught in stock fencing at the site near Hailsham on Saturday morning, September 23.

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) sent two veterinary ambulances from Uckfield and Polegate to the scene.

Rescuers Trevor Weeks, Kathy Martyn, Tony and Claire Neads found the deer caught in a narrow gap between two fences.

The deer caught its back leg in a wire whilst trying to jump over a fence.

The movement twisted and clamped against her hock joint, causing her to hit the ground and hang from the fence.

Mr Weeks covered the deer’s head to keep her calm, before cutting the wire clamped around the leg.

He said: “It was a difficult working environment as the gap between the fences was narrow.

“Every time I stood up I kept catching my jacket on the barbed wire, which seemed completely pointless and unnecessary on this fence which was not being used to keep in cattle or any other livestock.”

The deer was lifted up onto a stretcher over the fence with the help of a couple of dog walkers at the scene.

Mr Weeks added: “It was very awkward, and I had to lift the deer from the rear as it was impossible to stand in the normal position, but we managed and settled her down on the stretcher.”

Emergency medication was given to the deer before the group trekked 15 minutes back from the woods to one of the veterinary ambulances.

Rescuer Tony Neads said: “This was not an easy task in itself.

“We had to have people walking in front to ask dog walkers to hold onto their dogs as we passed to avoid any dogs trying to have a go at the deer as we carried her to the ambulance.

“She was certainly getting heavy by the time we got back to the ambulance.”

The casualty was taken to WRAS’s Casualty Care Centre at Whitesmith where her ligature wounds were better assessed and treated.

Mr Weeks said: “She is extremely lucky and we feel she has not been caught for as long the other seven baby deer caught in fencing dealt by WRAS this year.

“Ligature wounds can be invisible but still fatal.

“She is going to need at least a week’s worth of observations before we will have a more accurate idea as to how serious the ligature wounds are.”

Kathy Martyn added: ”Roe deer are very flakey animals so do not tolerate stress and trauma anywhere near as well as the fallow deer.

“She is now in one of the deer pens and being monitored by WRAS’s Deer foster parents Chris and Sylvia.

“By Sunday lunchtime she was starting to eat and drink and we hope she is settling down and picking up but she is not out of the woods yet.”

WRAS has dealt with more than twice as many baby deer casualties this year than any previous year: 15 this year (2011) compared to seven last year, 2010.

Mr Weeks said: “Deer are not cheap animals to treat, house or feed, but we are pulling the stops out to try and help as many as we can.

“Nowhere is able to take them in the is area and we can no longer take them to the specialist Deer Hospital in Buckinghamshire.”

The young deer has been called ‘Dacey’ which means ‘wild thing’. WRAS hopes the deer will recover and be released back to woodland.