TREVOR WEEKS MBE - Rise in night casualties keeping staff up all hours

East Sussex Fire & Rescue crews assist in rescuing a trapped seagull in a roof in Eastbourne.
East Sussex Fire & Rescue crews assist in rescuing a trapped seagull in a roof in Eastbourne.

For almost thirty years I have been undertaking wildlife rescue and conservation work and most of my knowledge and experience has come from working with various organisations and vets.

Sadly there are very few courses in wildlife rescue. We decided last year to get some qualifications behind our knowledge so a number of us have been studying for a Diploma in Wildlife First Aid and Rehabilitation. Our Assistant Manager Chris and I have recently passed to an excellent level our Diplomas. WRAS volunteers Kathy, Murrae and Dave are not too far behind either in completing their courses too. The Animal Careers College have been so impressed by our knowledge and experience that they decided to visit, have a look round, and are now looking at working with WRAS to improve the course and help teach others interested in learning about wildlife rescue work.

Some of the sudden influx of baby blackbirds at the WRAS centre.

Some of the sudden influx of baby blackbirds at the WRAS centre.

Our workload is certainly increasing now as we go into April. The number of call-outs is increasing and the number of casualties we are dealing with is too. Night time calls are at their peak with calls most nights at the moment which is causing us to get very tired as a result. These calls have included two road casualty badgers in Hastings on different nights last week. Both of them were very severely injured and vets advised it best to end their suffering. Another night time call was to a hedgehog at Shoreham, covered in loads of ticks. More local rescue organisations don’t work nights and as WRAS was quiet at the time we agreed to attend. The hedgehog was admitted and found to have over 250 ticks attached and there are more we have not yet been able to remove.

We had another call about what the finder thought might be an orphaned fox cub in a garden last week. The cub’s mum had been seen at lunch time but then she disappeared. We advised the finder to leave and monitor the cub for a couple of hours and shortly after mum returned and picked him up. Please remember that a fox cub on its own is not necessarily abandoned please do not touch them unless in immediate danger, i.e. they are on a road.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service assisted WRAS rescuers Tony and Chris in Eastbourne last week. WRAS were called out by Lifestyle Mazda who came across a seagull trapped on their roof above their garage. Rescuers assessed the situation and due to safety concerns it was agreed that it would be better to ask the Fire Brigade to assist with the rescue. Luckily ESFRS had a fire engine close by at some shops opposite and it arrived in seconds. They quickly erected their ladders and were able to reach the trapped bird and return him safely to WRAS. He was cut free from the remaining netting and taken to St Anne’s Vets for assessment and will hopefully be returning to our care soon. A huge thank you to ESFRS for attending and to St Anne’s Vets for seeing him so quickly.

We have had a sudden influx of baby blackbirds at the centre, we now have 3 little ones being cared for by the orphan rearing team! They are being named after precious stones this year so they have been named Ruby, Opal and Topaz.

Other calls this week have included a fox dragging its legs near Battle, a collapsed fox at Burwash thought to be a road casualty, a duck at Golden Cross also thought to be a road casualty and a goose at Halland which hit over head cables.

Thank you to Sue for her wonderful donation of five lovely food bowls which have arrived via our Amazon Wish List. Thank you so much! If you would like to send our casualties a gift via our Amazon Wish List please go to

Finally, the badger which fell into the swimming pool which you may have read about, is doing well, he was rescued near Hailsham after falling into a disused swimming pool, and has needed veterinary help to treat some infected bite wounds. He is now in care at WRAS’s Casualty Centre and on medication and we hope he is going to make a speedy recovery.