Appeal to check netting after Summer Holiday

A rescue service is appealing to students and teachers to check for trapped animals as they return to school from the Summer holidays over the next couple of weeks.

The plea comes after volunteer rescuers were called to cut free a hedgehog caught up in a child's football goal being stored at the side of a house in Eastbourne on Friday (28th August 2009).

Rescuers were able to carefully cut the hedgehog free from the netting and after an examination and monitoring for ligature wounds the hedgehog was able to be released.

However, East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS), is asking pupils and teachers as they return home from holidays and return to school to check football goal netting, tennis court netting, cricket tunnel netting and any other types of netting found at home or at school.

Three hedgehogs became caught in netting in a school playing field over Christmas and two died as a result. The third was discovered and rescued successfully. WRAS has also been called to foxes and deer caught in netting too in the past.

"This hedgehog has been very lucky and thanks to the vigilance of the residents this hedgehog has been saved from a slow and distressing death" said WRAS rescuer co-ordinator Trevor Weeks.

As hedgehog numbers are thought to be on the decline. The Mammal Trust UK believe that hedgehog numbers are in decline by about 20% over 4 years. These needless deaths can easily be avoided by simply removing the netting when not in use.

Previously WRAS has appealed for netting to be removed during school holidays and when not in use or to be rolled up off the ground so that hedgehogs and other animals can pass underneath in safety.

"If you are a student at a school or college please check around your school or college for animals which may have been caught in netting over the summer holiday. If you are a parent, teacher or even a governor of a school or college please go and check the netting yourself and push for any netting used on school grounds to be removed when not in use and most importantly removed during holidays. Parents with children's football goals should dismantle or remove the netting from the goals when not is use." said Trevor.

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Press Contact: Trevor Weeks, East Sussex WRAS, 07931 523958

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