One of WRAS's aims is to help educate people about wildlife welfare and rescue work. To this end WRAS is developing resources which can be used by schools, colleges and for those studying animal welfare.
For further information on school and college visits, please see the 'Talks and Presentations' section of the website.
East Sussex WRAS is working alongside the Animal Careers College to improve animal welfare.
Facts & Figures
Traditionally April through to the end of September are the busiest times of year for us. The weather plays an important part in when we are busy. Some years if it stays cold through to March and April the busy season starts late and and if the Autumn is mild the season may go on late.
2020 has been our busiest year to date, primarily due to the first Covid lockdown occurring at the height of the busy season. People were working from home and and if their cat or dog caught a wild animal or bird they were there to rescue it and save it, where as normally they would come home from work and either not know their pet had caught a wild creature or the creature was found dead.
The above table is not completely accurate as this is based on the initial call out assessment, which can change. However, categories like Cat, Dog or predator attacks are only used where the someone has actually witnessed that animal attacking the casualty, otherwise the injuries are recorded as one of the injury categories where the cause is not known.
Human attacks, cat attacks, dog attacks, road casualties are suspected to be much higher than recorded here as they are often not witnessed but the injuries and location are consistent with those type of incidents.
A number of cases could be classed as falling into more than one of the categories above, but the primarily reason why we are being asked to attend a rescue will be recorded only. For example we deal with far more orphan young birds and mammals than listed above but some are reported as being a cat attack as the primary reason for rescue. A collapsed mange fox would be recorded as collapsed not mange. Or a fox trapped in a basement or compound wound be recorded as that rather as mange even if it had mange.
Hedgehogs are by far the more common species of mammal WRAS deals with. The Herring Gull is the most common bird.
Above is a table listing the key towns and villages where East Sussex WRAS has received casualties over the last few years.
Eastbourne has always been the heart of our area and we are best known in that town than anywhere else hence the highest number of calls to that area. We also find that people often refer to themselves as being in Eastbourne when in fact that are often in a suburb like Willingdon, Langney or Sovereign Harbour.
Calls about casualties in the very north of East Sussex are generally passed to Folly Wildlife Rescue, casualties in the far east of East Sussex are passed to the RSPCA Mallydams Wood Wildlife Hospital.
A small organisation has been operating in the Bexhill & Hastings area for the last few years but are now winding down meaning there is now an increase in the number of calls we are receiving for that area. Due to Rogers Wildlife Rescue cutting back due to Rogers age, a new organisation called Brighton & Hove Wildlife Advice & Rescue Service has set up. They don't have any hospital facilities and work with surrounding organisations like WRAS who help to take in as many casualties as possible, therefore seeing an increase in the number of casualties we are admitting from that area.
This information is based on the town and the key council area which covers that town. In locations where a town is covered by more than one council like Saltdean being covered by both Brighton & Hoce City Council and Lewes District Council, the data will lead to a slight imbalance in the results.
About 75% of all casualties we deal with we attend out on site either by one of our Collection Volunteers who act as a taxi service or by one of our rescuers in a veterinary ambulances.
The number of casualties collected from Veterinary Practices has decreased in the last few years primarily because of Avian Influenza (AI) and practices not wanting to admit wild birds, and when presented with birds they are often euthanised by some practices to avoid having to take the risk of admitting AI into their practice.Follow us!
Talks & Presentations
WRAS currently has the following presentations which can be undertaken at schools, colleges, universities and community groups. They are subject to change and updates:
The Work of East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service
This is a general PowerPoint presentation, using picture and video, approximately one hour. The majority of the presentation is taken up by showing some of the casualties WRAS deals with and the situations which WRAS finds itself being called to, but it also gives some background on the charity, how it started, as well as how the organisation is run and funded. This presentation does not show any graphic images. This presentation is updated at least twice a year to ensure that photos and videos are up to date.
This presentation has been used for adult groups but also for scouts and other young people. This presentation does not down any graphic images.
This PowerPoint presentation which includes photos and video, lasts about 1 hour. It looks specifically at hedgehogs, their ecology, where they live, population, myths, problems, hazards and what to do if you find a hedgehog and how you can help. This presentation does not show any graphic images.
What is Wildlife Rescue?
Designed for Schools and community groups. This is a basic presentation aimed at 7-11 year olds which lasts 30 minutes with time for questions. It covers issue like, the difference between Wildlife and Pets, process of a rescue, number of call-outs, video clips or our ambulances and around our hospital, asks questions like "What are the most common animals rescued?" and The main causes of wildlife casualties. It shows examples of some rescues including a deer and fox cubs. Children are shown a couple of items of equipment and asked to guess what they are used for. It also covers what to do if you are concerned about a sick, injured or orphaned wild animal or bird. The presentation encourages respect for wildlife and to avoid domestication of wildlife.
This new talk has been used at Haven Primary School in Eastbourne.
Wildlife Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release.
This PowerPoint presentation includes photos and video, can be edited to last from 60 minutes to 180 minutes. The presentation looks at the principles of Wildlife First Aid, the Production Line of Wildlife Rescue looking at everything from the initial phone call, site assessment, approach, methods of capture, hospitalisation, when to euthanase, methods of release as well as looking at various rescue situations and types of injuries dealt with. This presentation is aimed at colleges and universities and people studying animal or wildlife care courses. This presentation DOES include graphic images. Not suitable for those under 16.
These sessions can also include one of WRAS's main veterinary ambulances visiting and a tour of the vehicle, the equipment carrier and available for use on the ambulances.
Assembly, Ambulance Tour, and Educational Trailer.
WRAS is able to attend primary and secondary schools and undertake an assembly (either the "What is Wildlife Rescue" Presentation for primary or "Work of the Wildlife Rescue" for Secondary Schools) followed by a tour of one of WRAS's main ambulances looking at the equipment carried and what it is used for and then being allowed to look round WRAS's educational trailer.
This normally takes place over a morning or afternoon for approximately 3 hours.
This has been done at Forest Row Primary School, Alfriston Primary School and via Eastbourne Borough Council at Princes Park for St Anthony's School.
This is an example of some of the rescues which are involved in our presentations:
Community Groups: WRAS asks for a minimum donation of £50 for talks for talks up to 1 hour.
Schools and Colleges:
30-60 minutes talks/assembly cost £60.
1-3 Hour - Ambulance Tour and Talk: We ask for a minimum donation of £100 this can either be a talk or multiple talks or an assembly, ambulance tour - over approximately 3 hours - i.e. covering 9am till 12 noon or 1pm till 4pm.
Talks for Fundraising Purposes: If the talk is being used as a fundraiser or attendees are charged for attending the talk, WRAS asks for a minimum donation of £50 or £1 per person attending which ever is the greater.
Travel & Accommodation: In addition to the above - for talks booked outside of East Sussex will also require travel expenses (and cheap accommodation depending of distance and start time).
If you are interested in booking a talk or presentation, please phone 01825873003.Follow us!
We have the following sheets which can be downloaded and printed for use with children's groups.
- Barn Owl Colouring Sheet
- Birds Colouring Sheet
- Fawn Colouring Sheet
- Squirrel Colouring Sheet
- WRAS Word Search
Please feel free to download any of these leaflets to find out more about some of the basic casualties and what to do if you come across them.
- Birds Unable to Fly
- Cat Attacks
- Hedgehogs Out During the Day
- Orphaned Animals
- Road Traffic Accidents
- Window Strikes
These resources have been provided free of charge but we would very much appreciate a donation if you use them. » Donate safely onlineFollow us!
East Sussex WRAS is working alongside the Animal Careers College to improve animal welfare.
Dog attacked Hedgehog
Date & time: 3rd January 2014, 15:30hrs
Casualty first found: 31 December 2013 19:00hrs
Species and incident: Dog Attacked Hedgehog
Location of rescue: Bexhill, East Sussex
Rescuers: Chris & Jen
» Download the casualty form (PDF)
Initial phone call
After hearing their dog making a commotion in the garden, the finders went outside to find the dog pawing at a hedgehog and barking at the hedgehog which was now curled up in a ball on the grass. The finder took their dog inside and left the hedgehog out in the garden to wander off. The following day the dog discovered the hedgehog again and the finder moved the hedgehog to some bushes at the end of the garden. A couple of days later their dog again discovered the hedgehog but they noticed an odd smell and were unsure what to do so decided to call for help. The finder was asked to look over the hedgehog for any signs of blood or injury. The only observations the finder had was that there was some crusting on the back of the hedgehog which smelt. The finder was asked to carefully pick up the hedgehog using a towel or old t-shirt and place the hedgehog in a box or pet carrier and place somewhere dark and warm until the ambulance arrived.
An ambulance was dispatched from our Casualty Centre and arrived on site approximately 15:50hrs. On site, rescuers found the hedgehog had been placed in a cardboard box. Rescuer Chris checked the hedgehog over, parting the spines across the back to investigate the smell of infection present. A crusty wound was noticed which seemed to be origin of the infection smell. It was difficult with the dog barking to assess the hedgehog properly so it was taken out to the ambulance for a better assessment. The hedgehog was encouraged to uncurl but the guard hairs were sensitive to touch causing the hedgehogs to curl up quickly. The gum colour was difficult to assess as the hedgehog would not uncurl fully. The hedgehog's abdominal skin temperature seemed normal despite the outdoor temperature being only a few degrees above freezing. The hedgehog's breathing appeared normal and calm.
No there was no immediate threat to the hedgehogs life, so the casualty was taken to WRAS's Casualty Centre for a better assessment.
Assessment on admission
The hedgehog was assessed by the Casualty Centre Manager. At first the hedgehog was encouraged to uncurl on a towel placed across the examination table but was sensitive to touch so given time to calm and relax. Both eyes were open and prominent. The nose was moist and nostrils clear. The jaw seem aligned and the general head shape was normal and no obvious signs of swelling. Head carriage was normal too. The ears, skin, spines and fur across the head and face seemed normal with no signs of mange nor ringworm. The hedgehog was noticed moving both front legs normally and no visible injuries or swelling were seen. The rear legs were more difficult to see so with patience the hedgehog uncurled enough to walk across the examination table showing correct movement and control of both rear legs. The hedgehogs stomach was rounded and covered in a good covering of hair. It was noted that this hedgehog was male. No visible injuries were seen on the underside of the hedgehog. The hedgehog weighed 670 grams and generally rounded with no visible neck line or a concave waist line. The back of the hedgehog was checked thoroughly. An obvious crusted wound was found on the rear right quarter. No other obvious injuries could be seen.
Initial treatment and care
WRAS's vet was spoken to over the phone and under instruction Carprieve - an analgesic - was administered along with Noroclav - an antibiotic. Under instruction from WRAS's vet the spines around the wound were cut back to expose the wound, leading to the discovery of a second smaller puncture wound close by. The wound was flushed using a weak iodine wash. A loose scab was covering most of the wound and came off easily. The wound was infected, with substantial necrotic tissue around the edge of the wound. After further flushing and cleaning of the wound, some granulation tissue could be seen and some capillary bleeding started. It was noted that a hole appeared to be going under the skin tracking downwards to the skirt. There was concern as the iodine wash started appearing from around the skirt indicating possible further injuries. It was not possible to assess this possible third injury around the hedgehog's skirt, so WRAS's vet was contacted again and booked in for an assessment under anaesthetic.
Bedding the casualty down
The hedgehog was bedded down in Casualty Room 1, in a small animal veterinary cage. Newspaper was placed across the floor of the cage. A fresh and clean cardboard box was used to create a hedgehog house which was filled with hand torn newspaper. A shallow bowl was filled with a third of a tin of meat in jelly cat food (non-fish variety) as well as Ark Hedgehog Biscuits and a small sprinkling of Ark Hedgehog Mix, and a shallow dish of water.
The hedgehog was taken to Henley House Vets in Uckfield for an appointment within a couple of hours. Vet James was briefed on the history of the casualty, treatment given and potential cause. The wound was assessed and agreed that assessment under anaesthetic would be the most suitable way forward, so the hedgehog was left at the vets.
The Hedgehog was anaesthetised using a general anaesthetic. On assessment of the skirt of the hedgehog, an infected wound was found tucked under the skirt. Infection tracked between the three wounds. All three wounds were thoroughly cleaned whilst the hedgehog was under anaesthetic. Due to the location of the wounds it was not possible to cover the wounds with any bandage so an anti-biotic powder was applied along with intra-site gel to block any further infection. The hedgehog was bedded down in a recovery cage and arranged to be collected and returned to WRAS. WRAS were given instructions to continue the Noroclav antibiotic and to give two more days of Carprieve analgesic and to give the hedgehog weak iodine baths to help clean the wounds and to flush the wounds daily and to apply anti-robe antibiotic powder mixed with intra-site gel to the wounds.
Hospitalisation & general treatment
The hedgehog was returned to its cage within the hospital and for the first 7 days the hedgehog was given a bath in a weak iodine wash encouraging the hedgehog to walk through the wash to self clean the lower wound which was difficult to clean by hand, as well as flushing the open wounds on the hedgehogs back. On day 8 the hedgehog returned to the vets to be anaesthetised so the lower wound could be checked to ensure it was staying clean. For days 9 to 16 on a daily basis the hedgehog continued receiving baths and flushing the wounds. A 3cm wide section of dead tissue and spines finally came off on Day 12. The hedgehog was booked in to see the vet again on Day 17 and washing and cleaning of the wound were then reduced down. By Day 21 there had been a significant amount of healing to the wound so cleaning stopped completely. The vet undertook a final assessment of the wound on Day 23 and gave the 'OK' to proceed with rehabilitation with a view to returned him back to the wild. The hedgehog was micro-chipped to help with identification and post release monitoring.
Rehabilitation prior to release
As it was winter, the hedgehog was placed into WRAS's Cold Room to acclimatise to the colder temperatures prior to being groups up with four other male hedgehogs to see how well they interacted with each other. They were then as a group placed into one of WRAS's outside pens with hedgehogs houses for the rest of the winter. It was decided that because this hedgehog had been in for this length of time during the winter, it was possible it may no longer have anywhere suitable to sleep during the cold weather so a decision was taken to keep him in care till the threat of snow subsided or a suitably long enough spell of warm weather occurred.
At the beginning of April all the hedgehogs from this group were brought back to the Casualty Centre for an assessment and to check for injuries, infections, and disease especially ringworm, mange and ticks. They all had faecal analysis undertaken to ensure they were not carrying significant internal parasite burdens. They were all in good condition and weight. As this hedgehog was an adult when admitted it was taken back to the location where found and released in a neighbours garden and the original caller proofed his garden to ensure the hedgehogs and dog could not come into conflict in future. The neighbour was asked to keep an eye out for the hedgehog and will be given the opportunity to scan visiting hedgehogs later in the year to seek if any are ones which WRAS has released previously in the area.Follow us!
Road casualty Fox
Date & time: 17th February 2014, 02:23hrs
Casualty first found: 17th Febraury 2014 01:50hr
Species and incident: Road Casualty Fox
Location of rescue: Brighton, East Sussex
Rescuers: Trevor & Kathy
» Download the casualty form (PDF)
Initial phone call
A Caller reported a fox lying at the side of the road close to her house in Brighton. She had picked up the fox and placed it on the floor of her kitchen and was almost bitten in the process. The caller was asked if she could see any visible obvious signs of injury, which she couldn't. The fox was described as lying down, unable to stand or move, but had lifted its head. The caller was advised not to touch the fox any further but to cover with a towel or blanket, to turn the lights off in the kitchen and close the door. She was also asked to keep noise to a minimum and keep her cats locked away in a different room too. The caller was then asked to contact a closer organisation based in Brighton as they were closer and to ring back if they were unable to respond. The lady had already tried the RSPCA who were not close by. The lady called back advising that she had been unable to make contact with the more local organisation so WRAS agreed to attend.
On site the fox was lying on his left side on the floor of the callers kitchen. The rear leg was touched to check the fox's reactions, but the fox did not respond. Kneeling at the back of the fox a rescuer then placed a gloved hand on the foxes neck for security but there was very little movement. You could clearly see the fox was breathing with the rising and falling of the chest and there was no obvious signs of respiratory distress. The fox's mouth was slightly open the gum colour looked pale. The fox's reactions were low enough to check the CRT which was over 4 seconds and the gums felt dry and cool. It was decided to place a muzzle on the fox as a safety precaution as the fox had previously attempted to bite the caller. The fox was then examined. It was noted that the fox's eyes were blinking but partially closed and the eye lids were swollen and blood was present.
The ears were checked and there was no sign of any discharges from the ears. Gently a rescuer ran his hand down the spine to feel for any obvious spinal damage, none was found. Both rear legs were pinched and both legs reacted. The edge of the anus was touched to check for an anal reflex too which was also present. Satisfied that there was unlikely to be paralysis, the fox was then moved to a more upright position to reduce pressure on the heart.
A rescuer then gently ran his spare hand across the fox's chest, ribs and abdomen checking his gloves for blood in case of any hidden injuries as well as checking for any other obvious signs of rib damage or unusual swellings. Nothing was found. The front legs were then examined and no obvious injures or fractures were found and the fox responded with the legs being pinched. On checking the rear legs for injuries, crepitus was felt in the femur on the right hind leg but quite high up. The fracture was too high in the leg to be immobilised.
The fox was then carefully lifted and turned over to check for any hidden wounds, none were found. The fox was lifted using the towel the fox was already on and placed into a fox cage, and carried out to the ambulance.
The fox was clearly in shock, and the trauma around the eyes indicated possible head trauma, but did not appear to have any other life threatening injuries. It was decided to contact the nearest emergency out of hours vets for direction and agreed to take the fox straight to them for a full veterinary assessment.
Veterinary visit & report
At the vets the fox was examined by one of the veterinary surgeons and he confirmed that there was a closed fracture to the femur. The vet expressed concern at the amount of movement and that in his opinion that pinning would be problematic and there was too high a chance of the pin migrating as well as further complications and felt that amputation would be the only option available. The vet examined the fox's head trauma, the left eye was in tact and seemed ok, although there was soft tissue swelling around the eye and haemorrhaging around the eye too. The right eye was shut and significantly more swollen the eye was present but appeared to be damaged. On further assessment the vet felt the fox had lost the sight in that eye and it was unlikely to recover vision.
Veterinary conclusion and outcome
The vet concluded that the fox would need both the right eye removing and the rear right leg amputating. It was agreed that this would be too much for the fox to cope with, and make rehabilitation and release back to the wild impossible. To keep such a casualty in captivity in such a condition would not be in the fox's best interest. The rescue team and the vets discussed the situation and everyone was in agreement that the fox should be prevented from further suffering and euthanised.Follow us!
Female Mallard & ducklings walking through a housing estate
Date & time: 2nd July 2013, 11:19hrs
Casualty first found: 2nd July 2013 11:00hrs
Species and incident: Mallard & ducklings walking through a housing estate
Location of rescue: Grove Estate in Hailsham, East Sussex
Rescuers: Trevor, Tony, Claire & Tom
» Download the casualty form (PDF)
Initial phone call
The caller explained that they had found a female mallard with about 13 babies walking through the cul-de-sac outside their house and out of concern for their safety managed to get them ushered into their garden for safety. They were concerned they may get run over.
Two ambulances attended on site bringing four rescuers from two different locations. The mallard and ducklings were alert and able to move around with out any signs of obvious injury. The female mallard's wings were level and balanced correctly on her body and showing no signs of injury or trauma. The ducklings were counted and she was found to have 11 ducklings, none of which appeared unhealthy. The ducklings were approximately 2-4 days old. Counting the ducklings is important in case mum becomes frightened and flies off causing the ducklings to scatter, and ensures you find the right number.
It is not uncommon for ducklings to be hatched in gardens as they are safer locations to nest than by ponds or waterways. However this leads to the mother needing to walk her youngsters to a nearby pond once the youngsters are several days old.
Rescue & casualty assessment
There was no immediate threat to the mother or ducklings life, and no reason for them to need hospitalisation. Looking at local maps it was discovered that there were at least three different ponds which the female mallard was possibly heading towards.
It was decided against trying to catch the mallard and ducklings and relocated them as the risk of moving them to the wrong pond was too great. An Ambulance will be used to drive slowly in front of the mum and duckling but at a suitable distance not to discourage the mum and ducklings. Two rescuers will be assigned to monitor and stand on any drains to prevent ducklings from falling through. The final rescuer helped by a couple of local residents walked slowly behind the mum and ducklings again at a suitable distance as not to discourage or influence the direction in which she travels. Sussex Police is informed of the situation and rescue.
Rescue summary and outcome
Rescuers opened the garden gate and mum and ducklings very quickly walked out the garden and started walking down the Close. An ambulance drove in front with hazard orange beacons flashing and stopping and speaking to motorists. The roads on the estate were luckily very quiet. Rescuers following from behind whilst other rescuers monitored drains. The ducklings steadily followed mum through the estate for about 20 minutes along Birch Way, across the green at The Grove, across the The Grove and into Gilbert Way. The mum then went under a chain link fence and hedge onto grounds of Ersham Farm and turned west in the direction of the main farm pond where they entered the water safely. The farm gave permission to enter their land to check on the mum and ducklings which were monitored for 30 minutes to check they were at their final destination.
From time to time WRAS runs training courses, awareness days and presentations from its Casualty Centre at Whitesmith in East Sussex. These are normally advertised on WRAS's official facebook page, click on the events tab for a list of WRAS events and how to book.Follow us!