Charity inundated with peacock calls

A busy wildlife rescue charity is being inundated with calls from the public reporting escaped peacocks across East Sussex. Over the past 3 weeks the charity has now received more than 40 calls about peacocks.

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) is only a small local charity run off limited funding from kind and generous donations, and says it doesn't have the time, funding nor resources to be dealing with these calls.

Founder Trevor Weeks MBE said "We are wildlife rescue, and peacocks are not British Wildlife, therefore we do not have a remit to deal with them. It would be better to contact animal charities which deal with pets and exotic animals rather than us. We have always tried to help out as much as we can with non-wildlife calls, but with the development of our new hospital over the past few years we just don't have the time, money nor resources to deal with these rescues. These calls take a lot of time, and they can be very difficult and impossible on occasions to catch."

"We have had over 40 calls in the past 3 weeks about peacocks and some of the callers have been very understanding and genuinely concerned about the birds welfare, but most of them have been from frustrated residents being woken up in the mornings by the peacocks calling. They then take their frustration out on WRAS's volunteers over the phone because they can't find anyone to help, on several occasions I have had to put the phone down as I am not prepared to tolerate being spoken to so badly. Just because we are Wildlife Rescue they seemed to think that it is our responsibility to deal with any problem animal roaming around and they get very aggressive and rude towards us when we say that peacocks are escaped pets and they aren't within our remit to deal with them. Some people even think that we are part of the council, especially when local councils give out our phone number for such incidents, and as a result they think we are funded by the council and of course get aggressive towards us thinking we are a public service paid by their tax payers money – we are a small local charity funded by donation. There are a number of much larger exotic and domestic animals charities in and around Sussex who have better funding than our small charity to deal with these incidents. I can understand the callers frustrations but you wouldn't call the Police to put out a fire, so why expect Wildlife Rescue to deal with an escaped pet" said Trevor.

WRAS believes there could be as many as 20 peacocks escaped and roaming around East Sussex, most of the peacock calls the charity receives are from Uckfield, Buxted, Rotherfield, Crowborough but most of the more recent calls have been from the Pevensey and Westham area.

There are two or three peacocks which are around the Uckfield area, roaming as far as Buxted and to Ridgewood, which have been present for at least 3 years now. "I do think owners of peacocks need to take more responsibility for them and I have believed for many years now that it should be a legal requirement for all pets to be micro chipped so that when an animal escapes it can be traced back to its owner, so they can take responsibility" added Trevor.

During the spring and early summer peacocks will roam if not kept confined, as they spread their wings in search of partners to breed with. Some of them will return to their homes after roaming so the problem will often resolve itself.

East Sussex WRAS is urging people not to call them as calls about peacocks are stopping genuine wildlife emergency calls from being dealt with, and are asking people to contact other local or national domestic and exotic animal charities who are better equipped to house and look after these creatures, than WRAS.

"I so wish I could help everyone but it is physically, mentally and financially impossible. It is very stressful at this time of year for us, with such a high volume of calls coming in and so many wildlife casualties to deal with, these calls are making our job even more stressful and difficult. I hate saying we can't help, but we don't have enough funding to deal with all the wildlife casualties which exist let alone getting involved with escaped pets. If anyone can help fund our wildlife rescue work please ring us on 01825 873003 to make a donation." Said Trevor Weeks founder of WRAS.

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Press Contact: Trevor Weeks - East Sussex WRAS: 01825 873003

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