A badger was dragged, alive, along a main road between Hadlow Down and Cross in Hand, East Sussex on Saturday night after being hit by a car late at night.
The driver initially stopped, checked behind his vehicle and assumed the badger had run off. Unaware of the damage to the front of the car or that the badger was still lodged there, the driver continued driving till the car broke down in the next village. On getting out the driver was horrified to find the badger. Straight away he called Sussex Police, not knowing who else to call for help and a local patrol attended on site. The local unit then contacted East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) for help after confirming the badger was still alive.
Two WRAS veterinary ambulances attended on site including one of WRAS’s Technical Rescue Vehicles. WRAS rescuers Katie Nunn Nash, Andrew Loftus and Charlotte Loftus were shocked that the badger had managed to survive its ordeal wedged in the damaged bumper of the car. Rescuers were able to free the badger quicker than they suspected and able to lift the badger into a secure cage.
The badger had “road burn” to its head and body from being dragged along the road for such a distance. The badger was given emergency medication and assessed. “Despite initially thinking the injuries might be repairable, on closer inspection back at the veterinary centre more serious injuries were revealed meaning the badger had to be put to sleep, we were so disappointed” said Katie Nunn Nash, WRAS’s Lead Casualty Manager.
“We are really pleased that the driver stopped and did the right thing and called for help, as we have known people to be too embarrassed or scared to call for help in such situations and just left animals at the side of roads and driven on, but we are only interested in the animal’s welfare” said WRAS founder Trevor Weeks MBE, “stopping and waiting for a rescue service to arrive is important as it greatly speeds up the rescue and likelihood of the casualty being found and then being treatable”.
“We would urge anyone who hits an animal or bird on the road to stop as soon as possible and safe to do so, put your hazard lights on, check to see if the creature is still alive and check for damage on the vehicle. Earlier this year we had two badgers hit at night in the Hailsham and South Chailey areas and it was only later in the day time that someone actually stopped and checked and noticed they were still alive and they were then rescued by WRAS” said Trevor.
“We are often asked how can you tell if an animal is still alive. The easiest way is to monitor the animal’s chest to see if it is moving as the animal breathes. Some casualties and especially badgers can slow their breath rate right down so you need to watch closely for up to 5 minutes to double check you don’t miss a breath” said Trevor, “with animals like badgers, foxes and deer, please avoid touching them unless you really need to and ideally wear gloves.”
“With smaller animals which can be picked up safely, these can be taken to the nearest emergency veterinary centre where good vets will assess and treat them free of charge and hold onto them for a wildlife charity to collect or end their suffering if too badly wounded and suffering” added Trevor.
There is currently a wildlife crisis in East Sussex, with Rogers Wildlife Rescue permanently closed, others either temporarily closed or operating at a reduced service, and with the National RSPCA rescue service no longer operating 24 hours a day, there is a huge pressure of East Sussex WRAS to pick up the pieces. WRAS is already taking large number of casualties from neighbouring rescue groups who don’t have the space or facilities to admit the volume of casualties out there. WRAS is also struggling with space and resources.
East Sussex WRAS has launched an appeal to establish a bigger and better rescue centre in the heart of East Sussex and is appealing for donations. These can be made on their website at www.wildlifeambulance.org