TREVOR WEEKS: Magpie and badger cub among rescues during busy season

We are certainly in our busy season now. The phone is ringing constantly, our staff are getting in between 6am and 9am and frequently not leaving till after midnight.

Amazing recovery of a magpie SUS-180523-103426001
Amazing recovery of a magpie SUS-180523-103426001

Just after midnight Sunday rescues rushed out to a fox cub in Arundel Road in Eastbourne. After assessing the fox at the roadside, rescuers felt there may have been spinal damage so the fox was rushed to the near by Vets Now emergency clinic where sadly a spinal fracture was confirmed so the poor creature had to be put to sleep.

You may remember the fox which was entangled in a child’s football goal in Eastbourne. Well, he has now been released back to the wild. He ran off really pleased to go and was quickly joined on a shed roof by a couple of siblings.

Thank you so much to Graham Mountford for flying our injured tawny owl over to Vale Wildlife Rescue. The poor owl came in over the weekend with a nasty fractured leg. Our care team supported the fracture and e-mails were sent of an X-ray to Caroline Gould at Vale. She very kindly offered to take on the owl and look at operating. Being a four hour drive WRAS supporter and pilot Graham Mountford kindly agreed to fly the owl from Shoreham Airport to Staverton Airport in Gloucestershire, to make it a nicer and quicker journey. Thank you to both Graham and Vale for making it possible.

A very poorly and concussed magpie came into care just after 5pm on Sunday after being run over. He also had two ticks on his head. Even just one tick on a bird can be fatal so emergency treatment is critical. We were really pleased that after just five hours in our ICU he picked up and was able to stand again and had his attitude back.

Our staff and volunteers are seeing some horrendous injuries at the moment. A hedgehog was admitted from Eastbourne with a nasty wound to its side and chin filled with maggots. A second hedgehog came in at the same time with a severe rear leg injury again filled with maggots. Both hedgehogs were given emergency first aid and were then seen by our vets it is touch and go as to whether they will make it but we are trying our best.

Our orphan team members have their work cut out with quite a few really small baby birds being admitted. Freshly out of the egg, such birds do not survive well, the traumatic fall and or hatching often causes problems later as they develop.

This week we have officially retired our veterinary ambulance sponsored by Animal Friends Insurance. For Christmas 2013 they very kindly donated a nearly new veterinary ambulance to us. Over the past four years and four months the ambulance has driven more than 100,000 miles and helped rescue well over 4,000 casualties. This video is a thank you to Animal Friends Insurance for their support and for making it possible to keep our service on the road. Unfortunately the ambulance is now too old and too expensive and a replacement ambulance will be launched next week.

Rescuers have helped a badger cub in Gladstone Place, Brighton, just before midnight. The cub had been playing with siblings on an embankment and tumbled into a court yard about four feet down. After struggling to get back up, a neighbour called out WRAS. It was quite a simple rescue and a very enjoyable one. A case of carefully picking him up trying not to get bitten and place him back up on the embankment, to which a grateful little badger ran off and straight into a nearby sett entrance.

Rescuers had a difficult rescue in Lewes Library last week. A pigeon managed to get itself down inside a hollow pillar. Rescuers working on the first floor had to use a ladder to reach the top of the pillar before using an extending pole with a small net head on the end. It took about five minutes to get the bird into the net head but then trying to get the bird up and out without losing the bird or it escaping was difficult. Working so close to the roof made it very difficult to manoeuvre the pole which had to be constantly shortened every few inches. The bird must have been about 10ft down inside the pillar. The bird was eventually in the rescuers’ hands and taken out to the ambulance. Rescuers decided to bring the pigeon in as it was underweight. It is hoped the pigeon will be released after a few days of rest and recuperation.

Thank you to Choice Medics who kindly spent six hours last week teaching three groups of WRAS volunteers basic life support and the use of a defibrillator for human first aid, as WRAS now has a defibrillator on the wall outside its reception in case of emergency.

We do have several feed and clean shifts available as well as orphan team shifts - visit for more information.