East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service has seen a record breaking year.
WRAS founder Trevor Weeks MBE said:
May and June saw WRAS deal with over 800 incidents each month, over 200 more than the same period in previous years. That’s our busiest season by a long way!
The charity is predicted to deal with over 4000 incidents in 2020. In May the number of confirmed dog attacked casualties trebled and calls to disorientated casualties rose by five times above usual levels.
WRAS believes the number of casualties has increased primarily due to so many people being furloughed and at home.
People would normally be at work and not see the casualties in their gardens which would otherwise have been found dead on the homeowners return from work. People have stopped and called after seeing a casualty which otherwise they may not have noticed because they were so focused and rushed. In addition people have been getting out and walking more and spotting casualties.
With the coronavirus restrictions in place, WRAS had to stand down virtually all of their volunteers, to reduce the risk of the virus entering their hospital at Whitesmith. Staff had prioritised casualty care, leaving rescue teams and administration short. Many of the roles undertaken by volunteers like casualty up-date calls had to be put on hold initially during the lockdown. This has caused a huge back log of calls for the charity to return.
Luckily we had a few volunteers who were furloughed and after assessing the risk and number of people outside of WRAS that they would be coming into contact with, they started helping out, many working several days a week at our hospital, without them we would have had to close our doors.
The downside of this summer has been the expense. WRAS has seen an increase in running costs. The charity has also lost income from cancelled training courses, talks and fundraising events. WRAS’s charity shop had to close during the lockdown losing vital funds too.
WRAS is currently seeking a volunteer fundraiser to join their team to help generate funds to secure long-term sustainability.
Anyone wanting more information should visit their website: wildlifeambulance.org.