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Rescue team’s record year for animal callouts


A baby hedgehod saved in Polegate

ANIMAL rescuers are warning that the demand on their services are increasing.

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service has seen a 13 per cent increase in casualties – up 381 last year and making a total of 3,273.

In 2014 there were fewer than 2,000 rescues and this is the first time its figures have topped 3,000.

Trevor Weeks MBE, founder of WRAS, said: “The demand on our service is ever increasing but we always try to help as many people and casualties as we can.

“June 2017 saw the number of casualties in one month surpass 500 for the first time ever.

“We were averaging 18 casualties a day.

“The highest number of casualties in a single day was 27 which happened on June 8.”

These included a blackbird, orphan young crow, abandoned duckling, goldfinch which hit a window, three foxes which were all potential road casualties, and four young gulls fallen from roof tops.

There was also three hedgehogs, one attacked by a dog, two jackdaws, a mouse trapped in a bird feeder, a partridge, four pigeons, a road casualty rabbit, a robin, two sparrows and two starlings.

The most common mammal dealt with by WRAS in 2017 was the hedgehog at 473. The most common bird was Herring Gull at 416.

WRAS also dealt with 195 Blackbirds as the most common garden bird.

There were also 125 sparrows, 87 starlings, 102 foxes, 40 finches, 14 woodpeckers, 31 Tawny Owls, 63 ducks, 19 deer, eight buzzards, 35 bats, 29 badgers, 51 robins, 42 swans and 56 tits.

East Sussex WRAS is an award-winning community charity which operates five emergency veterinary ambulances and a registered veterinary hospital which can take in up to 250 casualties at any one time.

The charity was formed as a voluntary group in 1996 soon after the Sea Empress Oil Spill in Wales which WRAS founder Trevor Weeks attended as a rescuer.

WRAS has a charity shop in Terminus Road, Eastbourne, to help raise enough money to pay the £160,000 turnover needed to run the charity every year.

Including volunteer time and charity costs, WRAS spends on average £75 per casualty but does not charge people for taking casualties or being called out.

Anyone interested in volunteering with WRAS or wanting to make a donation should visit www.wildlifeambulance.org.

In 2014 WRAS was called out to 1,870 animals. The figure went up to 2,032 in 2015, 2,892 in 2016 and 3,273 last year.

Source: The Argus