TREVOR WEEKS: An unusually busy week of rescues and releases

For what is supposed to be a quiet time of year for us, we couldn't be further from it!

Our casualty centre is running at almost full capacity again and at one point last week we had to stop admitting casualties till the following morning when other casualties were ready for release.

Rescuer Amy and I rushed to a swan at Newhaven Marina found right at the top near the car park, the swan had been seen sat there for quite a while, not interested in food or moving around.

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We were able to catch the swan very easily and before long he was in our ambulance and on route back to our casualty centre.

Very lethargic, dehydrated and underweight with a foul smelling coming from his nose and throat, the swan was then rushed up to the Swan Sanctuary at Shepperton for specialist care.

He was placed on IV fluids and is thought to be suffering from botulism.

East Sussex County Council rangers called out WRAS to Ditchling Common after they spotted a heron with a damaged wing on the island.

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The rangers and volunteers were on site undertaking work to tidy up the site and to check for fishing line and hooks in the water.

Rescuers Chris, Iain and Trevor attended and found the bird on the island.

Dry suits had to be worn to get to the bird which was guided towards the inlet stream, where the narrower stream allowed rescuers to get closer and catch the bird.

At the same time as delivering the heron to the Swan Sanctuary for an operation, our ambulance collected 11 cygnets to come back to Sussex.

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Over the past couple of year East Sussex WRAS has sent quite a few swans up to the Swan Sanctuary at Shepperton for specialist veterinary help and care, like those from Ditchling Common, the dykes behind Lewes Rugby Club and from Hampden Park’s lake.

To help re-address the balance the Swan Sanctuary and WRAS decided to bring 11 cygnets back to Sussex for release.

A WRAS ambulance collected 11 cygnets and delivered them to Princes Park in Eastbourne where they were released into the non-territorial flock of swans.

Once old enough they will find themselves partners and fly off to establish their own territories in the surrounding countryside.

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You can see a video of the release on our You Tube channel at

A very poorly hedgehog came in fighting for its life after it was found at Eastbourne crematorium.

Rescuer Dave Novell and Katie Nunn Nash rushed the hedgehog back to the centre where he’s outlook was poor to say the least.

He was covered in flystrike, fleas, emaciated, dehydrated, cold, wet and an injured leg.

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Although old wives tales say hedgehogs are covered in fleas, it is very unusual for hedgehogs to be covered in so many fleas, they generally don’t have any more than any other wild animal.

Hedgehog fleas are also host specific and can’t survive on cats or dogs, nor in carpets and furniture.

Chris and Katie got to work, gently warming him with fluids.

They used a suction tool to remove the parasites, they bathed him, gave emergency treatment to try and just give him a bit of hope.

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After four hours in an incubator keeping warm, something amazing happened, everything we fought for earlier was worth it.

He came out and began to gently eat.

There is a clip of this on our Facebook page.

We had another dangerous and dramatic deer rescue this week.

This time it was at Duddleswell at Ashdown Forest with a fallow buck with its antlers caught in electric rope fence in a field behind the tea rooms.

Two veterinary ambulances attended on site along with rescuers Trevor Weeks MBE and Kathy Martyn from Uckfield, Kai Ahmed from Hellingly, Daryl Farmer from Forest Row.

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A walk-towards net was used by Kathy and I to catch and secure the deer and once secured Kai helped me secure the deer whilst Kathy and Daryl started cutting it free.

You can see the full story and rescue on our website at or on You Tube.

As well as all the incoming casualties we have also managed to release a song thrush from Polegate which had been in recovering from a broken wing; also released an emaciated buzzard found all but dead, cold and wet in Chiddingly; two young wood pigeons have gone to their release aviary, and one of our tawny owls has gone for release too.