East Sussex charity urges residents to make wildlife resolutions

Rescuer Iain Turner with an injured goose SUS-161231-133331001

Rescuer Iain Turner with an injured goose SUS-161231-133331001

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An East Sussex wildlife charity is asking people to adopt some New Year wildlife resolutions for 2017, after a sharp rise in the number of animals coming into its care.

Volunteers and staff at East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) report a 24 per cent increase in the number of wildlife casualties being admitted to their Casualty Centre in 2016.

As a result the charity is asking East Sussex residents to consider adopting wildlife resolutions, to help cut down on some of its most common call outs.

WRAS founder Trevor Weeks said: “We have seen an increase of 24 per cent on casualties being admitted into our care during 2016. From 1,989 in 2015 to 2,462 so far in 2016.

“There have also been many other calls where casualties have been treated on site, not been in our area, or casualties have been taken straight to other organisations. This has primarily been due to our expansion work and ability to take in more casualties.

“Our volunteers have worked exceptionally hard this year, but the increase in casualties and increase in running costs has drained our resources more than we expected, so 2017 we need the public’s help more than ever to keep our service running and responding to emergencies.

“Most of the casualties we deal with are sadly either directly or indirectly as a result of human activity so we are asking people to think about wildlife and helping them as one of their New Year’s Resolutions.”

The resolutions are:

Garden Safety Checks: Check your garden on regular basis to ensure they are safe for wildlife. Looking for hazards like uncovered drains which wildlife could fall into. Putting away children’s goals and garden netting to avoid wildlife becoming entangled. Removing broken glass and litter, empty tin cans.

Think Wildlife when driving: Slow down when driving especially at night and make a mental note where they see dead wildlife and slow down when in those areas.

Littering: Avoid dropping litter or discarding waste into gardens, the streets, or our countryside. Dormice can die inside dropped glass bottles. Wildlife can get entangled in shopping bags. Plastic bottle tops can get caught around birds beaks stopping them from eating. It is not just about household waste, but consider netting using in sports, agriculture or countryside activities and avoid leaving discarded netting from hay or straw in fields, pick up discarded baler twine, avoid fishing in areas where line could become caught up in overhanging vegetation or weeds under water and dispose of line and hooks safely.

Feed our wildlife Sensibly: Many people enjoy feeding wildlife, which is also very educational and entertaining for children. But overfeeding can be killing with kindness. Moderation is important when feeding wildlife to avoid causing a localized over populations which can lead to neighbours and other local residents persecuting the wildlife. Over feeding waterfowl at park ponds can cause health issues for ducks as well as problems with rodents leading to poisons being placed.

Slug Pellets and Pesticides: Avoid using slug pellets and to look at alternatives to pesticides in gardens and allotments to help keep our songbirds and hedgehogs safe. But also to look at organic options when buying food from shops to help our countryside pesticide free helping our insects, bees, and wildlife.

Wildlife Gardening: To create a wildlife area in your garden for wildlife, encouraging nettles, composting, shallow pond, plants with berries or flowers to attract wildlife. Or if you don’t have a garden try a hanging basket with flowers. Avoid cutting trees and bushes down during the spring and summer when birds are nesting, and to consider having maintenance work done on trees to avoid them over growing or becoming a problem which then requires then to be felled – well-maintained trees are less likely to become dangerous and stay healthy. Where possible avoid clearly vegetation, bushes, and trees and try to plant a tree to help future generations of wildlife.

Keep Control of Dogs and Cats: Keep dogs under control in gardens or out in the countryside to avoid them chasing after and injuring wildlife unnecessarily. Where possible keep cats in an hour before dark until an hour after dawn to help cut down on the number of wild animals which are caught by cats.

Choose Humane: Look at being the more intelligent species and look at long-term humane deterrence rather than cheaper short term shooting or poisoning which in the long run is actually more expensive when dealing with any species considered pests or causing problems around your property.

Maintenance – Don’t leave it too late: Check your property regularly and undertake maintenance before any problems arise, so that wildlife can’t get inside causing any problems or becoming trapped or injured. If you have had problems with birds in chimney’s now is a good time to put cowls on the chimney to stop them entering. To check and maintain bird netting and to ensure they aren’t neglected and don’t become death traps. Check soffits and if worn or damaged replace them before wildlife get inside.

Mr Weeks said: “Wildlife rescue organisations are some of the most underfunded organisations that exist.

“With no funding from central Government nor from the National Lottery, such organisations are often shunned by trusts and grant-making bodies who don’t consider wildlife as important or have a misguided believe that wildlife rescue organisations don’t benefit the community.

“They all rely on public support and donations.”

Anyone wanting to help their local wildlife can also make a donation WRAS can do so via their website www.wildlifeambulance.org or call 01825-873003.

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