Occurred May 10, 2016 / Cooden Beach, East Sussex, England
Rescuers from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) were called out early afternoon to a fox cub after it was seen at the bottom of a drain in a cul-de-sac in Cooden Beach Bexhill.
The cub had originally been seen the night before but disappeared, but was again spotted at lunch time on Tuesday 10th May. Trevor Weeks MBE founder of WRAS from Uckfield, Rescuer Manager Chris Riddington from Eastbourne and Senior Rescue Tony Neads from Polegate, attended on site to try and save the cub.
“At first we were unsure where the cub was as there were multiple pipes leading in different directions. We used a mobile phone to film inside the pipes, as well as drainage rods, hose pipe and insulation for pipes to try checking the pipes and potentially push the cub to the drain entrance 2.5ft underground. We were amazed that the vixen turned up whilst we were trying to find the cub and it was almost as if she knew we were trying to rescue her cub” said Chris.
Rescuers could hear the cub and eventually came to the conclusion, that the cub must be in the only section of pipe they couldn’t get rods or pipes into. “We didn’t want to give up, and we knew that if the cub was left it was die. After spending 90 minutes trying to get to the cub we came to realize we had no choice but to play the waiting game. It is common for cubs to make their way back towards the entrance they came in from, so we decided to back off take a break and then try again. We returned to WRAS’s Casualty Centre for a break for a couple of hours to sort out other rescues and check on casualties. On our return to Cooden Beach a couple of hours later, I laid on the ground with my arm down the hole. Suddenly I could feel the cub touching my hand, twice he reversed into my hand by not far enough for me to grab hold, on the third occasion I was able to grab his tail, and gently lift him out of the drain” said Trevor.
The cub was soaking wet and dirty, so rescuers decided to wrap the cub up in a towel and take him back to WRAS’s Casualty Centre for a bath and clean. Within the hour rescuers had returned to Cooden Beech to try and reunite the cub with his mum.
“As if the rescue hadn’t been amazing already, within minutes of us returning mum appeared and walked straight over to a pet carrier which we had placed the cub in. As soon as the cub realized mum was there he was so excited and desperately wanted to get out the carrier. With some help from mum he managed to climb out and mum escorted him back home again. It was unbelievably emotional for all of us” said Chris.
“This is the third technical rescue of a fox cub in three days. Sunday saw rescuers rescue a fox cub stuck in a trench and return it to the wild, Monday saw rescuers rescue a cub stuck between two walls and Tuesday was this rescue of a cub stuck in a drain! The last two rescuers we were really not sure whether we would be successful, so for both cubs to have been returned to their families is amazing. It really makes the long hours and stress so well worth it” added Trevor.
East Sussex WRAS is a registered charity which relies on donations to fund its rescue work, and is working round the clock helping wildlife in need. They need support in the form of standing order donation to ensure their service continues.
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