Yet Another Challenging Deer Rescue!

Tuesday, East Sussex WRAS received calls about four different deer rescues. Thank you to Deer Warden's Chris and Julian for dealing with the three of the deer caught in fencing, whilst WRAS rescuers attended a fallow buck with its antlers entangled in electric rope in Buxted.

The rescue was problematic with the deer being able to run through a wooded stream valley at the end of a long piece of electric rope. At one point rescuers thought the deer was going to escape as part of the electric rope snapped, but this was tied to a tree to help prevent the deer escaping trailing the hazard as it runs off.

"These rescues always worry me as they as so unpredictable, especially where they have long stretches of rope attached to them and can run over a wide area still. An adult fallow deer can weigh up to 90kg so they need to be dealt with carefully and with respect. This is not something I would suggest anyone tries to tackle on their own" said Trevor Weeks MBE WRAS's lead rescuer at the scene.

It was important that rescuers shortened the rope and the deer's ability to move so freely. Rescuers encouraged the deer to entangle the rope around vegetation helping to restrict its movement.

This then allowed rescuers to get into a suitable position where it could be caught using a leg grab. The stream bed and position the deer landed in was far from ideal, but rescuers soon had the deer secure. If deer are stressed for too long they run the risk of a heart attack and not being suitable for release.

"From the point at which rescuers secure the deer to the point of release this has to be less than 30 minutes or the deer is likely to be in a poor condition and not survive" explained Trevor.

On this occasion there was not too much rope on the antlers and rescuers quickly had the deer free of rope. In order to release the deer safely, its escape route had to be cleared. The damaged rope, tree and Ivy was removed and the tree and ivy used to cover the barbed wire.

Releases need to be well co-ordinated to prevent rescuer colliding with each other as they jump off the deer and to ensure the deer gets away safely and in the safest direction.

The deer was soon being released and running off into the distance to live another day.

"Electric rope fencing is the main cause of antler entanglements in deer, and often people don't think about where they are erecting rope. There was a clear deer path here and the rope fencing had been erected straight across it. Sadly, people often use electric rope as other types of fencing are more expensive and costly to install, but every year it causes thousands of deer to become entangled and many are not spotted before they die of a heart attack" said Trevor.

These types of rescues are very unpredictable and dangerous, but WRAS has been dealing with them for over 18 years now.

"No two entanglements are ever the same, each one is challenging, and you have to try and plan for various scenarios which makes them difficult and unpredictable," said Trevor.

The wildlife of East Sussex is facing a crisis currently, with places like Rogers Wildlife Rescue now permanently closed, and others either temporarily closed or operating at a reduced service. Even the national RSPCA no longer operates a 24 hour rescue service for wildlife.

East Sussex WRAS is trying to pick up the pieces and is admitting casualties from various local organisations trying to help the best it can. This is all costing extra money, and we are also running out of space.

WRAS need to build a new rescue centre and expand to help prevent casualties ending up at local vets being euthanised or being taken home by well-meaning members of the public where they could end up suffering, being treated inappropriately, not receive suitable veterinary treatment or become domesticated or suffer mentally.

"There are currently very few facilities for taking in baby deer and no facilities for dealing with the treatment of adult deer. If WRAS can raise enough funds this will change" said Trevor, "we have an amazing team at WRAS and the charity is well established and stands the best chance of setting up a sustainable rescue centre able to help all local wildlife eventually once complete, but we need the public's help. There are few grants and funds available for wildlife rescue groups in comparison to conservation groups, so we have to work twice as hard to raise funds, so we need the public to get behind us and help make this new hospital a reality."

Please donate to our Wildlife Crisis Appeal at: Charity 11088880 Registered with the Fund-Raising Regulator.

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