Motorists were oblivious to a major rescue taking place about 50 metres off Uckfield High Street this morning. Two veterinary ambulances from Uckfield and Polegate attended on site to deal with a female roe deer which posed a real risk to traffic in the busy high street.
Local residents contact East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) about 10am after spotting the deer running between gardens in Bedford Court just off Uckfield High Street. When rescuers arrived on site they couldn't find the deer, but after a search of the area it was found hidden behind a row of garages. "In situations like this we would normally leave them alone and let them sort themselves out but being in such a busy area and so close to the High Street, there was a real risk to people and traffic, the last thing we wanted was the deer to cause an accident and potentially die" said rescuer Trevor Weeks MBE.
Four rescuers attended on site and two stretchers, ladders, and blankets were used in the rescue which involved two rescuers having to climb over a wall and fence using ladders. "Whilst our hearts were racing dealing with her I think the motorists only about 50 metres away from us had no idea what was going on. You have to be so careful with deer and they are powerful animals, we were reluctant to use sedatives and this would cause delays in any release and potentially be more stressful to the deer. It took four of us to gain control of the deer which was pinned on either side using stretchers as safety barriers. She was then covered with a blankets and once in full control she was lifted in a rather un-lady-like fashion to the waiting ambulance where she was placed on her keel with two rescuers accompanying her" explained WRAS carer Kathy Martyn from Uckfield.
The ambulance drove the short distance to the Sussex Horse Rescue Trust's land at the end of Hempstead lane on the edge of the Manor Park Estate in Uckfield where the deer was then released into a field. "It was a bit of a struggle getting her out of the ambulance and over the fence, but once down on the ground and after taking a few seconds to compose herself she was up and away" said rescuer Tony Neads from Polegate.
WRAS rescuers monitored the deer as it ran across the field negotiated several fences and ditches and away. "It was clear she knew the area where we released her, rather than panicking about how to get through the fences and ditches she went straight to the crossing points and away with ease, she definitely knew where she was. It was one of two likely areas where she would have come from. Capture to release took less than 20 minutes, this is important for the deer's welfare, as they have been known to suffer heart attacks if they get too stressed. We took longer planning the rescue than the rescue itself. Staff at the Horse sanctuary are going to keep an eye out for her just in case of any problems." explained Trevor.
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Trevor Weeks MBE - East Sussex WRAS: 01825 873003 or 07931 523958
Kathy Martyn - East Sussex WRAS: 07931 519646