Slow Down for Owls!

Road Casualty Tawny Owl in Care at WRAS
Road Casualty Tawny Owl in Care at WRAS

A animal rescue charity is appealing to motorists to slow down at night to help avoid collisions with owls after a spate of 10 Tawny Owls being hit by vehicles in the past 6 weeks.

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) has been called out to 10 Tawny Owls across East Sussex in the past 6 weeks all as a result of being hit by vehicles on the county’s roads.

“Many people think it’s safe to drive fast at night as you can see approaching car’s head lights from a distance, sadly wildlife don’t have lights on them and could easily run out into the road causing potentially fatal injuries to both the animal as well as humans” said Trevor Weeks MBE founder of East Sussex WRAS.

The ten casualties have been hit by vehicles on or near Ashdown Forest, Uckfield, Scaynes Hill, Magham Down, Hastings, Lewes, Polegate and Eastbourne.

“Unfortunately three died out on site before our emergency ambulances arrived, three had to be put down due to the severity of their injuries, two have been released and two are still in care.” said WRAS Casualty Centre Manager and Director Kathy Martyn.

“It is heart breaking to see these birds suffering out on the road side or having to be put to sleep with some fairly nasty injuries to their wings, heads and bodies, or suffering with neurologic injuries” said WRAS Rescuer Chris Riddington.

WRAS is urging drivers at dusk, night and dawn to be careful, more vigilant, and slow down and to think about the animals which could be crossing roads which can range from escape agricultural animals, stray pets, and wildlife ranging from rabbits up to animals the size of deer. During 2014 WRAS has deal with over 115 confirmed road casualty wild animals and birds and hundreds more where road collisions are thought to have been the cause.   “Owls will hunt along roads at dusk and dawn looking for rodents who like grass verges and embankments along roads” said Kathy.

“Some of the people who call us out to these owls – as well as other wild animals – have been absolutely in pieces as a result of hitting them. We know that it is not always possible to avoid hitting a wild animal when they run or fly across a road, but if we slow down they stand more of a chance of survival afterwards – in the same way that driving lower helps save human lives when a person is hit.  We try our best to relieve the suffering of these casualties and save them were possible but it does get a bit depressing when you see the horrendous injuries we see” added Trevor.

The cost of looking after these 10 Tawny Owls has cost WRAS just over £900, including food, hospitalisation costs, medication, vets bills and ambulance costs with one of them even needing an operation on its wing.

If you can help support the valuable work of East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service please visit their website www.wildlifeambulance.org, or to make a donation just call 01825-873003.

-END-

Press Contact: Trevor Weeks – 01825-873003 or 07931-523958

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