A wildlife charity saw a staggering increase in casualties last year up by 42%, an increase of 854 casualties. During 2015 East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service dealt with 2030 wildlife casualties but this increased to 2884 in 2016.
WRAS saw a 38% increase in wild mammals and 44% increase in wild birds. With Hedgehogs being the most common mammal rescued (473) and the feral pigeon the most common bird species (330).
“Last year was extremely busy for us, with our new Monica Russell Orphan Unit being opened last year we more than doubled the number of young birds coming into care for various reason. The number of hedgehogs which were too small to hibernate at the end of last year was almost doubled that of the previous year too” said WRAS founder Trevor Weeks MBE.
The single most common confirmed reason for wildlife casualties being admitted into care remains as a result of cats on 15% 450 casualties in 2016. “The real figure could actually be much higher as other casualties are admitted with injuries where the cause is unknown” added Trevor.
One of the biggest increased was in entanglements, be it birds caught in netting on buildings, deer entangled in electric rope or swans entangled in fishing line. Ditchling Common Country Park was one of the biggest causes on this increase last year.
Confirmed road casualty wildlife increased by 40% in 2016 too.
At the height of the busy season in 2016 WRAS dealt with 405 casualties in July and saw prolonged busy season with more casualties being admitted in October 2016 than occur in August 2015. Between April and November 2016 WRAS Casualty Centre was operating at 95-100% capacity continuously.
East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) is a registered charity and relies on donations to fund its vital lifesaving work. It has a veterinary hospital at Whitesmith and five veterinary ambulances which have struggled to cope with the workload. “We are worried that this summer we may have to put a limit on the number of casualties we deal with unless we can bring in additional funds to pay the extra costs” said Trevor.
“My colleague Chris and I have just agreed to reduce our paid ours by 1.5 hours a week as we know the charity can’t afford to increase our wages in line with the national living wage and we don’t want to take money away from the casualties. We know it is going to be tough on us financially but it will be even more tough on the casualties if we don’t. We already work up to 110 hours a week of which we will now only get paid minimum wage for 35 hours. The volunteers and staff work extremely hard at WRAS looking after the thousands of wildlife casualties we deal with and we hope that the animal loving people of Sussex will get behind us and help us to deal with this increase in workload, by making either a single donation or regular monthly standing order, and think about leaving WRAS a legacy in the will. We are even looking for councils, community groups, churches, businesses or people to sponsor cages at between £250 to £500” said Trevor.
Anyone wanting to make a donation should phone 01825-873003, go to wildlifeambulance.org or post a donation to East Sussex WRAS, PO Box 2148, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 9DE or drop donations into WRAS’s Casualty Centre at Unit 2 The Shaw Barn, A22, Whitesmith, East Sussex, BN8 6JD.
You can download a copy of the full figures and data using this link: