Good news - Natural England have just granted the Sussex Badger Vaccination Project its first licence to vaccinate badgers in East Sussex!
It is therefore hoped that very shortly vaccination of badgers will begin in East Sussex. I attended two very positive meetings this week with various stakeholders all looking at a positive way forward helping to fight BTb in East Sussex. I believe that with the right backing and funding we have a golden opportunity here to hit Tb where it hurts. A few people have mentioned to us why vaccinate if DEFRA are no longer going to cull the badgers? The main reason is because doing nothing is not an option, and will not help fight the spread of Tb. The vaccination of badgers will help reduce the risk to cattle. DEFRA have not said they will never cull it’s just on hold. If we don’t vaccination now, it will make East Sussex more susceptible to a cull in future. Vaccination is a valuable tool and one we really must take advantage of for the sake of the cattle and badgers.
We have been called out to two adult foxes which have come into WRAS alive and dazed looking very much like concussed road casualties. Unfortunately they have turned out to have been poisoned and sadly both died. One from London Road, Bexhill and the other from Carew Road Eastbourne. It is likely that they have died from secondary poisoning where they have picked up and eaten a rat which has died from poisoning.
Ambulances have been responding to a wide variety of calls again this week including cat attacked birds in Polegate, Mayfield and Uckfield; a dog attacked corvid in Eastbourne Heights; an ambulance has been out to an injured woodpecker in Willingdon; a dog attacked hedgehog at Windmill Hill; a road casualty gull near the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne; in Battle rescuers dealt with a young tawny owl found by the roadside; an ambulance attended a seagull that has crashed landed in a pond and couldn’t get out and a hedgehog that was seen out during the daytime which turned out to be pregnant.
Young foxes are starting to roam and get themselves into trouble, and this week we have been out to a mature cub caught in netting in a garden in Seaford. Rescuers managed to cut the cub free and as the netting was not tight enough to cause ligature wounds the cub was released as the den was close by.
We were also called to young fox running riot inside a house in Willingdon. The exploring cub wandered through the open door of the house and then panicked when confronted by the owner hiding inside a room unable to escape. WRAS came and caught the cub which has taken back to WRAS’s Centre till the evening then released. The fox was in good condition but just a bit naive and not used to humans, so he was returned and released late at night to return to its mum, frightened after his experience I don’t think he will be doing that again.
Centre Manager and Orphan Team Leader Lindsay Redfern completed the Walk on the Wild Side at the weekend along with numerous WRAS supporters to raise funds for the many orphans which come in to care during Spring and Summer. She has raised at least £250 and there is still time to donate by going to her justgiving page www.justgiving.com/Lindsay-Redfern. Thank you to everyone for your support and to all the volunteers who also walked in aid of WRAS.
We had a very poorly hedgehog admitted last week underweight, but with a large belly, she was given an ultrasound to check to see if she was pregnant, but the image was unclear. She was not coping well nor looking after herself properly, and sadly she aborted the very small babies, but we are fighting with her to keep her going. A much larger hedgehog came in weighing over 1 kilo, she was also found out during the day, she was given an ultrasound and very clearly it showed she was pregnant so she was taken back to where found and released again as there was no sign of any other problems or issues. We have one other hedgehog at the centre at the moment which has given birth to some youngsters, so we are leaving her alone and keeping her as quiet as possible so she can continue looking after her young.
Remember the very small ducklings we rescued at Ightham Mote near Sevenoaks about 6 weeks ago, well they are now outside in a pen getting ready to be released. They have been loving the sunshine and paddling about. We have put turf in the pens for them and they are really enjoying themselves. It will be nice to see them go back to the wild where they belong.