East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) has dealt with two more oiled swan in Eastbourne today (Tuesday 1st October 2019).
WRAS received multiple calls from local residents of Manton Court off Leeds Avenue Eastbourne after seeing a pair of clean white swans swim past the flats and them half an hour later see them black with oil.
Operations Director Trevor Weeks MBE attended on site with rescuer Ellie Langridge and they were able to swiftly catch the oiled swan up on the grass by Manton Court.
“This swan was heavily covered in oil and you could smell a diesel like smell on them. The poor swan was trying to preen the oil off its feathers but clearly didn’t like the taste” said Ellie.
Rescuers then walked the drainage ditch called “Horsey Sewer” between Leeds Avenue and Birch Road and found a heavily oiled patch of vegetation, and a thick black oil on the surface of the water. Rescuers unable to find the second swan drove round to Birch Road to check further along for the second swan.
“When we got out of the ambulance and looked in the ditch you could see the oil on the surface of the water covering over 20 metres of the ditch. This was clearly a second source of pollution coming out of a storm drain which goes under all the garages and factories off Birch Road” said Trevor.
Trevor phoned the Environment Agency and updated the report made about two oiled swan which WRAS rescued on Saturday.
“This area of pollution was much worse. The reeds and other vegetation where the swans have made a pathway was caked in a thick black oil which was thinning and drifting east” said Trevor.
As Trevor and Ellie returned to WRAS’s Casualty Centre with the swan numerous members of the public started phoning about a second swan which had made its way up stream close to Church Dale Road Eastbourne. Rescuers Karen Francis and Thea Taylor had a much harder job catching this second swan through the reeds along the embankment. Once caught this swan was also taken straight to WRAS’s Casualty Centre at Whitesmith where Lead Casualty Manager Katie Nunn Nash was able to start washing the oil.
“This oil seems thicker than that on the first two swan from Saturday. Its been much harder to clean off and these swans will need multiple washes to clean them up and get them back to full health” said Katie.
“I am amazed that anyone would think that disposing of oil down a drain is an acceptable way of doing so” said Trevor Weeks, “Its horrendous and life threatening to local wildlife. I hope that whoever has been doing so in the Birch Road Industrial Estate area, sees this and thinks twice in future. As far as I am aware they have committed an offence in not disposing of the oil in the correct way. I know the Environment Agency are stretched but I really hope that they are able to investigate this and find the source.”
WRAS is urging anyone who knows anything about the source of the pollution and who is responsible to contact the Environment Agency.