TREVOR WEEKS MBE - Three foxes treated as the number of call-outs pick up after the Christmas lull

The collapsed fox found in Eastbourne.
The collapsed fox found in Eastbourne.

Call-outs have started to pick up again after the Christmas lull so it was good news for the wildlife of Sussex that we were able to launch our new Ambulance this week.

This has to be the best Christmas Gift our charity has had in years! This year has been a difficult year with many challenges especially trying to keep on top of the workload. The past year has seen one of our ambulances in and out of the garage costing the charity valuable funding to keep it on the road. We had to take the decision to stop using this vehicle which was going to leave us a vehicle short.

We were even considering having to stop our night time emergency service. With vets bills, food bills, utility bills and other care costs continually increasing, we were not sure we could afford to replace the ambulance. Animal Friends Insurance will be helping to insure hundreds of wildlife casualties a year.

Animal Friends Insurance is one of the UK’s largest pet insurers and this Christmas they decided to celebrate the festivities by making a huge £70,000 donation split between 11 different animal charities and East Sussex WRAS was one of them. The concept of a charity Christmas giveaway was the brainwave of managing director of Animal Friends Insurance Elaine Fairfax.

The new ambulance was launched outside of the studio of community radio station Uckfield FM at Bird in Eye Farm just outside Uckfield on Monday. The ambulance was unwrapped and the key handed over to me by Elaine Fairfax and her partner Chris who travelled up from Wiltshire to present WRAS with the keys.

We can’t thank Animal Friends Insurance enough for this very generous gift. It is a huge weight of my my shoulders that we can continue to save so many casualties. This gift is literally a life saver.

Talking of ambulances and rescues our ambulances this week has been busy responding to numerous calls which have included a heron caught in netting on a pond in Hampden Park, there have also been several hedeghogs including ones in Battle, Brighton and Lewes. There were also callouts to several doves.

We had three emergency calls to foxes. The first was a report of a collapsed fox in St Leonards but, despite responding straight away, the fox died before the ambulance arrived. The second was also a collapsed fox in Eastbourne. Our rescuers are trained to treat casualties out on-site and this fox was clearly in need of urgent veterinary assistance and kindly St Annes Vets fitted us in as an emergency.

The fox had puss and blood in its mouth and at the vets it was discovered to have an old necrotic injury to its mouth. Sadly after seeking the vets advice we had no option but to euthanase the fox. The third fox was a road casualty. It was picked up a member of staff from the Kit Wilson Trust’s charity shop in Eastbourne. The fox was checked over and assessed and found not to have any serious injuries. It was given fluids and medication then bedded down at WRAS’s Casualty Centre. His condition really improved overnight but stayed concussed and disorientated for several days. This amazingly gorgeous fox is still in care and hopefully will be releasable within the next few days.

We are pleased to report that we were able to release Santa the Tawny Owl last week. This is the Tawny Owl which was rescued from a chimney in Buxted before Christmas. The stormy weather has prevented us from being able to release the owl. Last week’s break in the weather was just what he needed and gave us enough days of calm weather for him to be released safely.

A couple of casualties have come into care this week after clearly well meaning members of the public have taken in sick or injured wildlife and not wanted to bother us with what they initially thought was nothing very serious. What you see externally on a casualty may not look very serious but what you can’t see is the potential damage internally or necessarily know the repercussions of not seeking treatment or veterinary help. We are frequently presented with casualties like this and it is only once the casualties suddenly takes a turn for the worse that some people think they should bother us. By then it is often too late. I have made this mistake myself many years ago when learning and I can remember how bad and guilty I felt as a result afterwards. So don’t hesitate to contact us, your local vet or another rescue organisation to seek advice to ensure you don’t make a mistake.