Happy New Year

posted 4 Jan 2014, 09:09 by Debbie Johnson   [ updated 4 Jan 2014, 09:14 ]

It’s been another amazingly busy year with 236 admissions in total throughout 2013. That’s 60 more than 2012.

The year started off slowly, probably because of the awfully cold weather. The orphan season was very late and, in fact rescue centre's all over the UK were saying orphan numbers, especially fox cubs, were very low.  We think this was due to the poor weather making cubs stay in the dens a lot longer and due to less people venturing out, so the cubs were not being found or disturbed.  Baby birds came in much later than usual. Our first batch came in May. We were not complaining at all but it just shows how what a difference the weather made to the wildlife.

However, June started off a busy year for us with deer. We have been called out to 67 cases this year. It started with gusto on 16th June when we had 3 fawns in one day and then one each day for the next 10 days!! We could not believe what was going on. Unfortunately a lot of them we lost due to the extent of their sometimes horrific injuries; dog bites, car impact or caught in fences, but we did manage to save some. In particular, 6 fawns made it through. Of these, 1 was orphaned, 4 had fence wounds and one had dog bites. Most of these were lucky and their wounds were not too bad but one little girl has had to have regular visits to the vet for laser treatment and dressings for 9 weeks!. They are all now in our release pen, on land kindly lent to us and will be released in April/May. Some of the others we manage to treat and release straight away as they were adults and would not have survived being confined in the pen. We have tremendous support from Forest Lodge Vets who I now happen to work for. They are a brilliant, generous and committed team and we are hugely grateful for their help and support.

Louise did really well rearing all the baby birds; 40 of them this year and we would like to thank Folly Wildlife for their help in taking many of our birds for release. We don’t have the aviary space so their help is invaluable. In return, we help Folly out by taking the deer as they don’t yet have the facilities to keep them in their lovely new hospital. It is nice to have such a great team that we can work with and share the space / facilities we have.

During the summer months, we spent nearly every weekend fundraising at fetes, fayres and show grounds, all of which are too many to mention but we would like to thank all the organisers of the events very much for their support and generosity, and also to those who visited our stall. Thank you to Sarah Seddon and her girls for helping run our stall at some of the events, and also raising an amazing amount money selling ice creams after school.

When autumn arrived, we suddenly found a lack of garden birds on the feed stations or even in the gardens, we think this was because of the abundance of berries and woodland fruits. But now the cold wet weather has arrived they all seem to be coming back again. As Autumn approached it brought us big problems as far as food for the fawns were concerned. We spend a lot of our time collecting browse            ( bramble, silver birch, hawthorn, rowan, willow, holly, clover)natural foods for the deer and always have trouble finding enough to keep them going. This year we have been very lucky and helped by a number of people offering their fields and hedges to us, people don’t realise how much they eat we have to collect a trailer load every 2 days. Thank you to Kings Farm, Godstone, for letting us into their fields and those in Sherriff’s lane, Rotherfield, and Darren Casey, tree surgeon for supplying trailer loads, we are very grateful, you are all life savers.

Hedgehogs, again, have taken up a lot of our time, not so much in the early part of the year. That was most probably due to the extended cold period taking its toll on the hibernators but the last few months have been hectic. Lots of little ones, too small to hibernate, have been coming in so, it is thanks to Nyree and Colin, heading up our Surrey team with Sam, Heather and Neil helping them, wintering some of them for us and in Sussex we have Jessica and Anne wintering some also. We certainly wouldn’t have been able to cope without you all. We would also like to thank Calvin and Dot Barden and Glynis Greenland for collecting animals from various parts of the counties for us, we are eternally grateful.

Another person to thank is Steve Preston, who runs the Surrey Bat Rescue, he is always on hand to help if we need it. He helped this summer when we had a call from a lady in Dunsfold near Guildford who had tried various rescue centres in her area but could not get any help for a deer fawn that had been attacked by dogs. He has also helped out on a number of occasions for calls in his area, thanks again Steve.

We held another Quiz Night at the British Wildlife Centre in November which was a great success we had so many teams we ran out of tables! Thank you to David and his team at the wildlife centre for letting us take over the centre again, thank you to those who entered and hopefully see you at the next one in May.

As I mentioned earlier the we have been lent some land for our deer pen, and we spent  a lot of the early part of this year preparing the ground, erecting fencing and seeding it with grass seed. Unfortunately due to the very dry summer we did not see much grass, another project for next spring!! Any advice anyone???

The calls are still coming in, only yesterday we had 2 calls about deer caught in fencing, we gave the callers advice on what to do, ‘leave the deer until we get there, do not cut the fence, as it will run off and we won’t be able to help it’. What did they do?? Cut the wire and the deer ran off! Now there are 2 injured deer running around on three legs or probably dead because of it!

We know it is horrible seeing a deer strung up in a fence but unless they are released in a controlled manner, you can get injured as they struggle and fight to get free and no matter how badly injured they are they will run until the adrenalin runs out. So all we ask is that you give us clear details of where they are, or stay close by but out of sight, so you can show us when we get there. Right I have stopped moaning now.

 A few more people we would like to thank are Foal Farm Biggin Hill, Merstham Village Vets, Seers Croft vets and Caterham Animal Hospital, and Cats Protection, for their continued support.


We would like to wish you all a Happy New Year and hopefully see you again in 2014