Rescuers from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) rushed to the aid of a fox caught in stock fencing at Ardingly this lunch time.
This is one of three which the charity has dealt with in the past month. The fox is believed to have been hanging by a back leg for at least 12 hours.
Trevor Weeks MBE founder of East Sussex WRAS said “The caller did exactly the right thing in leaving the fox caught. Many people rush out and think it is simply a case of cutting them free and releasing them when in fact that is actually the worst thing you can do.”
The charity has dealt with over 25 cases of wild animals and birds being caught or entangled in everything from stock fencing, to football goal netting over the past month and on several occasions people have managed to cut the casualties free only for the injured animal to struggle off injured.
“When people cut wild animals free they can be sentencing the animal to die a slow and horrible death if the animal is capable to running off. This makes the job of us rescuers very difficult and more dangerous trying to catch a wild animal which is mobile and unpredictable. It is actually safer for the animal to be left caught as long as there is no immediate threat to its life i.e. it’s not going to fall down an embankment and strangle itself and suffocate” said Trevor.
WRAS advise that if you find a casualty which is caught or entangled, back off, keep people and dog away and ideally out of sight of the animal and call a rescue organisations as soon as possible.
This fox at Ardingly has a clearly visible wound to the leg, but WRAS warns that trauma in these cases is not always visible leading people to think a casualty is uninjured. “In any situation where you have pressure applied to the body, legs, wings, neck etc, you can get an invisible ligature wound or pressure necrosis. Sometimes the damage is not visible at all, on other occasions it is just a bruise, or a small tear in the skin, but this is generally just the tip of the iceberg and over the next week or so a much larger area of damage can appear as the surface layers of tissue die of. In some cases this can cut off the blood supply to a limb. Without treatment these casualties will potentially die a slow painful death. So be it a badger caught in a snare, fox trapped in goal netting, a deer with a rear leg caught in stock fencing or a hedgehog entangled in pea netting on an allotment, they can all be suffering from invisible ligature wounds which needs assessment” said Trevor.
The only time WRAS will release a casualty straight away is if the casualty was only very loosely caught and no pressure has been applied, but this rarely happens.
East Sussex WRAS is an award winning charity run entirely on donations, and anyone wanting to help support the work of the charity can do so by visiting their website www.wildlifeambulance.org.
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