A busy start to the year for volunteers

Volunteer rescuers from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) have had an extremely busy start to 2008 and over the weekend over 70 phone calls were received reporting casualties.

"Normally at this time of year our average is more like 5-10 calls a day, this is over 3 times that number." said Trevor Weeks founder of East Sussex WRAS.

WRAS rescuers attended on site to deal with 23 oiled birds along the Sussex coastline, 1 stabbed gull in Hove, a fox with an injured leg at Horsebridge, a pigeon trapped in a building in Eastbourne, calls to two swans at Beddingham, a cat attacked Thrush in Crawley, a cat attack blackbird in Eastbourne, a call from the RSPCA to look for a swan and grebe oiled at Camber Sands as they were busy elsewhere, a collard dove suffering from canker, a road casualty wood pigeon in Hailsham and a hawk attack pigeon in Hailsham.

Busiest Oiled Bird Season for a while

At one point over the weekend WRAS had 10 volunteer rescuers on the beach searching for oiled birds - mainly guillemots and razorbills. "The last few years the number of oiled birds we have dealt with in East Sussex has been fairly low with just 1 or 2 a day coming in but we are experiencing days when 10+ come in. Our experienced rescuers are giving emergency treatment on the beaches where possible to help stop the oiled causing problems and killing the birds and then sending them up to the RSPCA to deal with" explained Trevor.

Penguin call-outs

WRAS has been called to rescuer 8 penguins over the weekend! "Well they are not really penguins, they all turned out to be guillemots." said Tim McKenzie Duty Co-ordinator for WRAS, " it is amazing how many people think that guillemots are penguins and they are quite disappointed and some people don’t believe us when we arrive to collect the bird and tell them it is not a penguin. Unfortunately we do not get penguins in this area but at this time of year guillemots and razorbills are migrating through the channel or the juveniles are over wintering in the channel."

On average it costs £65 for WRAS to be on call for and respond to a single call-out. WRAS has been using its new Horsebridge Casualty Care Unit to give initial treatment to the oiled birds before sending them across to the RSPCA for more specialist washing facilities and aftercare.

Busiest start to the year ever

East Sussex WRAS has so far responded to over 230 incidents this year, which is much higher than previous years. "This is normally our quietest time of year but we have been extremely busy." said Trevor.

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Press Contact: Trevor Weeks, East Sussex WRAS, 07931 523958 (private)

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