East Sussex animal charity wants sports clubs to raise nets after fox nearly dies

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service is asking sports clubs to raise netting off the ground after a fox almost died as a result of becoming entangled in netting from a football goal today.

WRAS Duty Rescue Co-ordinator Chris Riddington said:

When we arrived on site, we could see the fox straight away, and it was well and truly entangled.  Luckily it was not able to move far.  I was able to cover the fox’s head and cut the netting to stop it pulling on the fox’s neck.  At one point the fox appeared to stop breathing but luckily I was able to respond quickly enough and encourage it to breathe again.

Once secured in an open topped cage, rescuers cut away at the netting which was not easy.

It was clear the fox had been caught for some time. This is one lucky fox not to have been attacked by a passing dog.

After consulting WRAS’s Vet the fox was transported to WRAS’s Casualty Centre at Whitesmith, between East Hoathly and Golden Cross, for emergency treatment.

Chris added:

We are pleased with how the fox is responding and we hope he will make a full recovery.  Casualties like these which involve invisible ligature wounds must be monitored very closely as the surface layers of skin can break down and turn into open wounds depending on how long the pressure has been applied for.

Fox entangled in Goal Netting at Roselands Eastbourne
Fox entangled in Goal Netting at Roselands Eastbourne

Every year WRAS gets called to around a dozen wildlife casualties caught in netting on sports fields, like cricket tunnels, football goals and discarded netting dumped at the side of sports fields, where hedgehogs, foxes, badgers and deer have become entangled.

WRAS founder Trevor Weeks MBE said:

We would advise people to cable tie off the ground netting or to even remove the netting completely when not in use.  Even by raising netting just 12 inches off the ground is enough to stop most casualties except deer.  If deer regularly visit sports fields we would advise netting is removed completely when not in use.

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