East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) received a call on 2nd June 2021 about a stork with a damaged wing at Mayfield.
On answering the call, rescuers thought the bird was probably a heron, but to their surprise, the patient was actually a white stork.
An ambulance was dispatched to the location at Mayfield and rescuer Julie Stafford working with the finder managed to corral the stork into a position where she was able to catch the bird using a rescue pole and net. The patient was then driven to East Sussex WRAS’s Casualty Care Centre in Whitesmith, near Lewes in East Sussex.
The care team discovered that the poor bird's wing was badly fractured. Its wounds were cleaned up and medication was administered. WRAS vet Mike Symons drove up to the centre to assess its condition.
Lead Casualty Manager Katie Nunn Nash contacted the White Stork Project as the bird was ringed. Liaising with the project it was agreed that WRAS's vets would look at removing the fractured section of wing and allowing the bird to live at the White Stork Project Sanctuary as part of a breed and release programme.
Katie said “We understand that this stork was released in the summer of 2020 on the Knepp Estate in West Sussex but managed to fly to Wadhurst where it joined other storks in that area before flying down to Mayfield before getting into trouble”.
On 7th June WRAS's vet Mike anaesthetised the stork after Katie managed to make a special mask as the bird's beak was too long for conventional masks. The fracture was too severe to be fixable resulting in the damaged section of wing being amputated.
Vet Mike said “The operation was not as straight forward as we had hoped. The location of the complicated fracture was also gangrene leaving us with little healthy skin or tissue around the fracture site. The operation was successful, and I’m pleased with the result”.
After the operation the bird was bedded down and WRAS’s Care Team and volunteers spent the next few weeks helping the bird to recover to full health again.
On 3rd July 2021 the stork was finally transported back to the White Stork Project’s facilities in West Sussex to be released into a 6 acre enclosure to live with other storks as part of a breed and release programme.
“This is certainly a first for WRAS” said Trevor Weeks MBE founder of East Sussex WRAS, “thank you to the finder for calling us, plus the White Stork Project for their support and a huge well done to our vet, Care Team and volunteers for working so hard with him and helping him to recover.”
East Sussex WRAS’s total cost of the rescue, operation and recovery is expected to reach just over £1,200, of which the White Stork Project are contributing towards this cost.
“We are all hoping that we start to see more of these birds in East Sussex in the near future” said Katie.
Further details on the White Stork Project can be found at White Stork ProjectShare this!