Hedgehogs hit a Century for Christmas!

100 hedgehogs are now going to be looked after by East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) over Christmas and the New Year, with number 100 being rescued last night in Eastbourne (19th December).

This is the highest number of hedgehogs the charity has ever had to overwinter at Christmas time before. Last year the charity only had 83 in care on Christmas Day.

Hedgehogs come into care across the country to rescue centres as the youngsters are born too late in the year and weather patterns confuse their breeding cycle. This year has been a particularly difficult year as many parasites have flourished causing hedgehogs to be admitted with internal problems. One particular parasite called the "Thorny Headed Worm" has been causing a lot of hedgehog fatalities this year.

Rescuer Tony Neads was called out to Hedgehog 100 last night at 8.25pm. The call came in from residents in Helvellyn Drive, Eastbourne. "On arrival the hedgehog was definitely underweight, dehydrated and probably suffering from a parasite burden, so I took the hedgehog to Monica Russell a member of our Care Team who could provide one on one care for the hedgehog overnight" said Tony.

WRAS"s Casualty Centre at Whitesmith, has been running at over 80% capacity since Easter 2012, in an exceptionally busy year. Volunteers for the charity have put in over 20,881 hours by the end of 2012. WRAS only has two part time paid members of staff. WRAS founder Trevor Weeks MBE, and Assistant Manager Kate Cuddis both work for minimum wage and are paid to work for 30 hours a week. However between them they have clock up over 200 days worth of holiday in 2012, mainly days in lieu and holiday entitlement which they have sacrificed due to their devotion and dedication to the charity and ensuring the casualties are given the care and attention they need.

"I love working at WRAS, its my dream job, however, its not the sort of job which you can just pick up and put down when you like. Trevor and I at times work up to 90 hours a week each during the busy season because we care for the casualties so much. We know the charity can"t afford to pay us any more, or employ anyone else, and we know the casualties rely on us" explained Kate.

These hedgehogs will costs up to £150 each to overwinter and care for. Anyone able to make a donation to help fund the valuable work of East Sussex WRAS can make a donation by calling 01825873003 or on line at www.wildlifeambulance.org or by posting a donation to East Sussex WRAS, PO Box 2148, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 9DE.

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Press Contacts: Trevor Weeks MBE and Kate Cuddis - East Sussex WRAS: 01825 873003

Notes to Editors:

East Sussex WRAS was started as a voluntary group in 1996. Became a charity in 2004. Founder Trevor Weeks has been undertaking wildlife rescue and conservation work since 1985.

On 25th October HRH Prince of Wales presented Trevor with an MBE. On 13th December Virginia McKenna presented Trevor with the Animal Welfare Award from BBC Radio Sussex and Surrey Community Heroes Award.

Photos:

Various Photos are available from www.cbugginsphotography.co.uk. Go to the images section, then documentary page, click on WRAS's Gallery and enter the password on "wras". Contact Chris Buggins direct for higher resolution images. Photos and video can be taken at the centre by arrangement by calling the number above.

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