Words of encouragement and messages of support would really help

The hedgehog rescued from a fence in Ringmer
The hedgehog rescued from a fence in Ringmer

I need your help! I am growing more and more concerned about my fellow staff and volunteers.

They are working so hard and such long hours at the moment, that they really need a boost. It would really help boost their flagging and tired bodies if people would send in thank you cards and message of encouragement, if you are able to make a donation at the same time that would help even further. Just send them to East Sussex WRAS, Unit 8 The Shaw Barn, Whitesmith, BN8 6JD. Our casualty manager Kathy has had her busiest summer season rearing more than 50 collared dove compared to less than 10 last year. Last week she took on 18 new baby pigeons and doves at home. Sadly two have died but the rest are doing very well. Her day starts at 7am with four of them being so young they have to be fed every two hours till 7pm in the evening. She is also looking after 19 hedgehogs which include two mums with babies.

Chris and Katie have worked very hard and many very long hours too. With a new baby bunny in care and young hedgehogs at the centre some of which have to go home with staff. We have had so many casualties in care with open wounds and trauma from small birds being caught by cats and birds of prey to road casualties too. Our veterinary and care teams have had to work hard this week suturing these wounds and thank you to vets at Henley House in Uckfield and to our vets Mike Symons and Simon Harris for working hard supporting us especially Mike out of hours recently as its been busy with road casualties too.

Tuesday last week turned into a busy day. My first call was just after 5am. My first rescue was to a gull in the Waitrose car park in Lewes which couldn’t stand or fly. I was able to quickly get the bird into the ambulance and headed across to our centre at Whitesmith. On my way back I received a call about a hedgehog stuck under a fence in Ringmer. The hedgehog had her head wedged under a fence. I used a hammer as a lever to lift the fence slightly to help release the pressure and free the hedgehog. Back at WRAS I assessed the hedgehog, it was clear she had a rather large tummy. An ultrasound showed she was pregnant and fairly advanced too. We decided to bed her down at our special Hedgehog Maternity Unit in Uckfield in case she gave birth during the day, then started planning to release her that night. That evening we boxed her up and took her back to Ringmer quite late waiting for the traffic to be quiet and safer. We monitored the release to ensure she went off ok as we were worried that the pathway we found her in was surrounded by fences. She luckily wandered off into the housing estate and away from the main road. Back at home I was settling down about to fall asleep when I was then called to a road casualty fox on the A27 between Beddingham and Lewes, and a young hedgehog in Spences Lane, Lewes. In both cases the finders were not prepared to wait and sadly the fox was flattened and the hedgehog disappeared. Being so tired I headed to WRAS’s Casualty Centre being closest and crashed out on my office floor for the rest of the night just after 4am. It was only two and a half hours later that the phone started ringing again. I managed to keep myself awake throughout the day drinking plenty of coffee. Thursday night while trying to fall asleep I was called out to a road casualty fox on Eastbourne Road Uckfield. I was on site within 15 minutes and managed to catch the fox which was dragging it rear legs. I gave emergency first aid when rushed down to our vet Mike but sadly the fox died just before I arrived. Now at almost 1am the rescue phone rang again with a call about a hedgehog with breathing difficulties in Sun Star Lane Polegate. I headed up there to have a look and discovered a poorly hedgehog with a snotty nose and very chesty. So he was wrapped up and taken to our Casualty Centre for care. I finally get home about 3am. The past couple of months has been like this and my colleague Chris and I are both finding ourselves struggling with the long hours, but we don’t want to let the animals or our supporters down.

WRAS rescuer Dave Novell was called to try and catch a gull on the Cuilfail Tunnel roundabout but due to the volume of traffic it was too dangerous for both the gull and Dave to attempt a rescue on his own. We had to wait a couple of hours before sending three rescuers down and slowed traffic enough for the gull to be captured and brought into care.