Yesterday rescuers were called out to a very challenging and dangerous deer rescue near High Hurstwood near Uckfield.
Mid morning East Sussex WRAS received reports that two Fallow Bucks were tied together by electric rope in a field. A emergency alert was put out to WRAS's rescuers asking for help, and a team of 6 rescuers were sent to the scene to help along with two veterinary ambulances.
The finder showed rescuers to where the deer has been last seen, but as usual they had moved. Although tied together they were not attached to anything so could move around.
As rescuers approached they could hear them crashing around and breaking of branches as they pair of deer tumbled around. Rescuers were shocked by the amount of rope and the two large wooden fence posts which were attached.
After checking out the situation the rescuers were sent in different directions in an attempt to surround the deer which had been found in a stream. The deer broke free from their location leading rescuers to follow them across a field an into a wooded stream.
When deer are so mobile you have no choice but to wait for them to become entangled around a tree. It wasn't long before this happened. The most dangerous part of the rescue is trying to secure the deer safety.
As the most experienced WRAS founder Trevor Weeks performed a leg grab to gain control of the liveliest deer, allowing experienced rescuers Thea Taylor to grab the leg of the second deer. Rescuers Brian Downing and Ollie Long then stepped in to help gain control allowing Trevor and Thea to pin the shoulders of both deer to the floor. With four rescuers controlling the two deer, rescuers Abbie Marsden and Daryl Farmer then set about cutting the rope and posts from the antlers.
Capture Myopathy is a major problem with these rescues and especially deer. Capture Myopathy causes permanent internal damage which can cause deer to die weeks, months or years later. Sedation can make this situation worse, would need a vet on site, would mean the deer need to be marked to show they had medication in them in case anyone attempts to eat them, and slow down the release of the deer as you need to wait for the sedation to reverse and ware off fully.
To keep Capture Myopathy to a minimum rescuers have to work as quickly as possible and keep the stress a low as possible. Generally rescuers have a maximum of 30 minutes from the point rescuers start to catch and secure the deer before the animal is likely to have a heart attack and die. Its a race against the clock. With two deer tied together the time is greatly reduced.
WRAS rescuers worked well as a team, communicating well, helping each other. At one point the most lively deer Trevor was trying to control started kicking off and Abbie had to sit on the deer's pelvis to help apply pressure to keep control. As this deer was struggling so much, rescuers decided to concentrate of getting this deer released as quickly as possible. It was also the most likely of the two deer to have first been entangled, before rutting with the second deer causing it to become entangled too.
On release the deer was struggling to get up. Rescuer knew that if they could not get the deer up it would not end well. They were relieved when after 20 seconds the deer stood up and ran off.
It was not long before the second deer was disentangled. Thea co-ordinated the release and rescuers held their breath worried this deer would not want to stand and run off too. They were surprised that it got up straight away and ran off.
All six rescuers were shacking by the end of the rescue, but relieved that they had managed to cut the deer free in such a short period of time.
The first deer was release within 5 minutes of capture and the second within 8 minutes, which is amazingly quick for such rescues and shows how experienced WRAS rescuers are in dealing with such rescues.
The land owner is going to keep an eye on the area for the deer which are regular visitors.
It was clear that one of the deer had been cut free from the rope by someone previously and allowed to run off dragging rope and fence posts. This is never a good idea as it leads to many deer becoming re-entangled against barbed wire fences where they are often not found and die, or during the rut they become entangled with another deer.
East Sussex WRAS is a charity and needs your support to help with these rescues, if you can help by making a donation or setting up a direct debit for a regular donation please visit our website www.wildlifeambulance.org .
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