There has been a major rescue on Eastbourne Seafront this lunch time, involving East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service, the Coastguard, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, the RNLI, local lifeguards and Eastbourne Borough Council.
An adult Roe Deer was discovered on the beach between the Western Lawns and Hollywell after being chased by a dog off the beach into the water.
Trevor Weeks MBE Operations Director for East Sussex WRAS helped lead the rescue closely with the Coastguard, Fire Service RNLI, lifeguards and Eastbourne Borough Council. The lifeguards used their boat and RNLI used a boat to assist to.
The first attempt to corner the deer on a beach failed due to the vast open space and the deer's ability to move faster than humans on shingle.
“We knew capture was going to be difficult on the beach but we had to try” said Trevor.
"After having seen the deer struggle to get out of the water and then lay down exhausted we were surprised at just how lively the deer was when we made our first approach. It shot off at high speed along the beach in the direction of Eastbourne Pier jumping over groynes and on several occasions swimming out to sea and being chased by dogs. The RNLI were able to encourage the deer ashore near the Lifeboat Museum where it went to ground hiding in some bushes" explained Trevor.
Rescuers using two walk-to-wards nets helped by the coastguard and RNLI were able to surround the deer. As Trevor approached it slipped under one of the nets but lost its footing and was soon restrained by the team on the promenade.
The deer was loaded onto a stretcher and into the back of WRAS's veterinary ambulance and driven up near Beachy Head for release.
“Its not that uncommon for deer to come down into the residential areas of Eastbourne. We have even had then in Terminus Road by the shop. Its not that difficult for them to come off the downs near Paradise Drive and gain access to the town” said Trevor.
Deer are good swimmers. “We would normally leave well alone when a deer is out at sea off the shore and let it come back to shore once people move away. The big problem here was the volume of people on the seafront and the deer being unable to get off the beach safely without the risk of further harm from dogs and traffic” said Keith Ring one of WRAS’s Senior Rescuer who also attended the rescue.
East Sussex WRAS would like to thank all the agencies involved for their support and willingness to help. “A big thank you for the Coastguard, RNLI, the lifeguards, the Fire Service and Eastbourne Borough Council for all their help and what a great outcome to a situation which could have ended much worse” said Trevor.