Year of 2012

Well another year has flown past and I have just added up the number of admissions for this year; a total of 176. That is 70 more animals than last year. 58 of those were hedgehogs and 10 were deer fawns. Our busiest time is obviously spring and early summer when all the orphaned babies come in and autumn when we have an influx of young hedgehogs and deer fawns. This year one of the local rescue centres stopped taking in deer fawns and so that meant that most of the calls came to us. We also helped Folly Rescue with 3 of their deer fawns. They didn’t have anywhere to release them so they came over to join our herd.

Our first admission in 2012 was a hedgehog and this year has started in the same way. We have had 2 in already and it is only 5th January. We struggled last year with the hedgehogs as there was a lot of thorny head worm and fluke and it took many attempts at finding the right medication to get this under control. Sadly we lost a few but got most through. We got a lot out before winter but those that were not well enough or heavy enough to be released have gone over to our hedgehog hotel in Nyree and Colin’s back garden or have remained here at home. A big thank you goes to Nyree and Colin for all their hard work not only with the hogs but also fund raising and administration, couldn’t do it without you.

Last February saw our first fox cub admission; very early in the year and only 24hours old. It was touch and go with her for 48 hours but she was a fighter and made it through. By the end of April we had 20 cubs and found ourselves getting through 20 tins of dog food a day! Fund raising to cope with this sort of need is a continuous problem and we are always looking at different ways to do this. We visit schools and clubs, school fetes, village fairs and are grateful for any help we can get. People are very generous and do help when they can, but our problem is we cannot predict what we are going to need, so it can get difficult at certain times of the year. Last year we were out every weekend through the summer fund raising and just managed to keep our heads above water. We also have a number of regular contributors, some by cheque and some who send us a standing order each month. That regular support is immensely welcome so many thanks to you all. As we are only a small team, all of whom have paid jobs as well and we have to do all the rescuing, caring, nursing, releasing and fundraising ourselves. As you can imagine, fitting it all in is a juggling act.

June saw our first deer fawn, this poor thing was caught up in stock fencing, both legs involved and unfortunately the shock was too much for her. She died on the way to the vet. The second was a dog attack; she was grabbed by the neck. Luckily, no skin was broken, but she was badly bruised and shocked. It was touch and go for the first 24 hours but she got through and then it took over a week before she could raise her head above her shoulders, due to the pain and swelling of the bite. We were so worried about her that she lived in our house for months before she was well enough to venture out. Her name, Rosie was an obvious one when we realised just how quickly she could polish off rose petals but she could just as equally been called Grape or Bramble because she would gorge on them too or maybe Glutton would have been more apt. 6 months on and she is with 3 others from Folly Wildlife Rescue in our release area.

July/August we had more fawns with ligature wounds 3 of which had to be put to sleep as their wounds were too horrendous to repair. The first one of these needed urgent treatment because both hind legs had been wrapped in barbed wire. The nearest vet was in Forest Row, a surgery we had not worked with before but the staff there, were very willing to help us. They were so kind and looked after her so well and when we asked if they would help us in the future, they kindly said yes. Lexi was our next patient for them, she was found at the bottom of someone’s garden caught up in fencing. One leg was completely useless and had to be amputated. She recovered well, but the wound would not heal, and we had a lot of trouble with it. Then Lexi proved just how fragile these delicate creatures are when she collapsed and died without warning. It was heart breaking for us and Alex our vet, particularly after the unstinting help he had given us with her. The post mortem showed that she had a congenital liver problem, and whatever we had done would not have saved her.

This is perhaps not an appropriate place for an advert but we would highly recommend the Forest Row team to anyone looking for a excellent, caring and committed vet.

August continued to be busy, especially for hedgehogs. I collected a total of 16 in one day! A Big thank you to Annette at Folly, who managed to squeeze some into her already busy hospital for me.

September/October we had more deer fawns through the doors including one Roe fawn with Meningitis. We fought long and hard to save her but unfortunately she didn’t make it. It was not a good year as far as deer were concerned, but at least we managed to help a few.

November/December continued to see hedgehogs coming in very poorly, dehydrated and worm ridden but we have managed to save 46 out of the 58. Not a perfect result but the successes make all the heartache worthwhile.

We have been very lucky and have been offered some more land to create a soft release pen for our next group of deer. That’s fantastic but we now have to raise the money to securely fence it (roughly 360 metres of 8 foot fencing and mesh screening) and we need to enlist the help of some hardy sorts to help us erect it all. We are therefore about to launch our New Year Appeal to raise funds to make this happen. If there is anyone out there who is able to help in any way; either with fund raising or with donation of fencing, fence posts or their time to help build we would be enormously grateful.