Deer saved from being trapped in fencing

A female deer became caught in newly erected stock fencing in a field near Brightling, Heathfield, East Sussex yesterday, and just a couple of hundred metres away her baby had died after being becoming entangled too.

Volunteer rescuers from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) were called out after the deer was spotted hanging by a rear leg from the fencing. WRAS rescuers were on site within 40 minutes and set about cutting her free and providing vital life saving first aid to keep her alive.

WRAS veterinary ambulance was driven into the field in order to get rescue equipment close enough to help the deer.

Rescuer Trevor Weeks from Uckfield and new rescuer Greg Holliday from Seaford held the deer whilst it was cut free. The young adult female deer showed signs that she had a youngster near by which found also found dead hanging from the same fencing.

The deer had been caught from so long that the deer had warn away an 6 inch depression in the ground from thrashing around.

"Once the leg was cut free I set to work examining her to ensure no spinal damage had occurred and to deal with the millions of maggots and fly eggs which were all over her body." said Trevor Weeks, " I have never seen so many maggots on a single animal before."

"Handfuls of fur came out in our hands as we tried to handle her on to the stretcher and maggots were all over the place" said new rescuer Greg, "I can’t believe the state of her it looked disgusting."

The deer had her wounds flushed on-site and the wound treated and bandaged before being rushed to Brown and Nuttal Vets in Heathfield where a vet and two vet nurse battled with the millions of maggots to treat the deer. An hour later the deer look completely different.

"They were great at the vets, they had to shave most of her chest and back to get rid of the maggots and fly eggs and apply medication to get rid of the rest. She was placed on a intravenous drip to help deal with the shock too." said Trevor, "have never see a deer so badly bruised before from such a situation."

After advice from the deer unit at St Tiggywinkles in Buckinghamshire (currently featured on Channel Five's Wildlife Animal ER programme), the deer was loaded into WRAS’s veterinary ambulance still on the drip and rushed up to Haddenham where St Tiggywinkles are based.

"On arrived we carried the deer into their veterinary centre where she was checked over and treated before being bedded down in one of their special deer stables." said Trevor, "their facilities are brilliant and I can't thank Less Stocker and the staff at St Tiggiwinkles enough for their help and support. The deer is now in good hands and we hope she will make a full recovery."

This is a common problem with deer catching their legs under the top strand of barbed wire above stock fencing which then twists and catches the deer. "There is a simple solution, and that is not to put strands of barbed wire above the top of the stock fencing. In South America on the cattle ranches where leather is produced barbed wire is banned due to the damage it causes to the cattles and is therefore clearly not necessary on fencing. Quite often landowners have removed this strands on barbed wire after deer have been caught and not experienced any problems with cattle or sheep getting out of the fields as a result and they have helped prevent deer and other animals from being caught too." said Trevor.

First deer casualty released

WRAS were also able to release their first deer casualty which has been treated here in East Sussex. Normally injured deer have to be transported to specialist deer rescue facilities due to the nature of their injuries, but thanks to Sussex Horse Rescue, East Sussex WRAS has been able to treat a female roe deer which was hit on the road near Sheffield Park two weeks ago. The deer luckily only suffered from two cuts at her rear which were given veterinary treatment and which healled really well whilst being kept in a stable at Sussex Horse Rescue's Sanctuary at Uckfield.

Yesterday she was returned to the wild where she ran off hopping and skipping away. "This is brilliant, we don’t normally get a chance to do this and it is amazing the difference between her when she first came in and when we had to catch her for release. She was so strong and fit I was amazed. I am so grateful for Sussex Horse Rescue for allowing us to use one of their stables. This is a great success story as most road casualty deer die from their injuries. The deer we transport up to St Tiggiwinkles are not returned to Sussex due to the distance." said Trevor Weeks.

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Press Contact: Trevor Weeks, East Sussex WRAS, 07931 523958

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