East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service, were called to a fox caught in a football net on a school playing field in Eastbourne this morning.
The concerned staff, at Willingdon Primary School, spotted the distressed fox entangled in the net. They moved children away and awaited rescuers to arrive. WRAS rescuer Iain Turner and Casualty Manager Chris Riddington arrived on site and quickly assessed the situation.
"The fox had managed to get the netting wrapped around a front leg and around its tail" said Chris. Firstly rescuers had to secure the fox before they could remove any of the netting. Chris walked along the trailing goal netting until reaching the fox at which point he used a large towel to cover the fox. Chris and Iain then lifted the poor fox into a fox cage, once it was closed they cut the netting.
"It was quite a tense situation as the fox was darting left and right" said Iain "we managed to catch the fox and get him secured, he seems to have got off lightly from his ordeal".
The rescuers took the fox back to WRAS's casualty centre in Whitesmith. "Once we got him back to the hospital we placed a muzzle on him, it was quite difficult as the fox was a lot larger than I'm used to, weighing around 9kg" explains Chris, "we removed the netting at the hospital instead of at the scene for the foxes safety. If we had cut it free during the rescue we risked it escaping. When an animal has line or netting wrapped tightly around its body it can cause ligature wounds or pressure necrosis, so we always monitor for a least 7 days before releasing back to the wild" said Chris.
This is an ongoing problem with wild animals caught in different types of netting such as tennis courts, cricket tunnels, goal netting and garden netting. "We urge those who use such nettings to lift them off the ground when not in use or put them away to avoid this happening. If these animals are not spotted they face a long painful death or can easily strangle themselves trying to break free" added Chris
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