Wildlife Rescue Teams run the Coronavirus Gauntlet
Whilst key workers such as doctors, postmen and food producers are bravely bolstering the skeletal remains of our social systems, there is an equal but uncelebrated network of people on the front line of wildlife protection.
The last week has witnessed seismic changes in society that no-one could have predicted. As the Coronavirus pandemic has spread it has felled long-standing economic and social norms with disturbing ease. Travel restrictions, school closures and the decimation of the hospitality industry. With self-isolation cases accelerating, this has left supply chains overwhelmed and burst a previously unquestioned sense of security.
Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital professionally secure a roe buck rescued in a town centre ready for transport and release to a nearby wood.
Wildlife however, still continues to face many of the same dangers that require critical human care. As towns extend housing deeper into natural habitats it is forcing animals to flee or adapt. This frequently results in death by stealth with them falling victim to the growing network of roads where councils have failed to provide wildlife friendly crossing points. While some species such as foxes and peregrine falcons have successfully created urban niches, other highly sensitive creatures such as deer face a much bleaker future.
Wiltshire is representative of many rural UK counties in transition with towns such as Wilton subject to a worrying number of deer surfacing in urban gardens. At night this might offer a wonderful refuge from their shrinking habitats, but during the daytime, particularly in the summer, human activity is scaring them headlong into traffic.
Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital bring a slim-line transport crate, to collect a rescued roe buck from a town centre, to be released in local woods.
With no official statistics, long-term residents provide essential observations. Robin Mottram, who enjoys being outdoors and has a spacious garden in the town centre states, “I haven’t seen any deer since 1995 but my brother, who lived here before me, saw a couple since 1975.” Although it is common for young Roe bucks to disperse in search of new territory, the last week has seen two roe bucks and one Muntjac stranded in Wilton town centre gardens.
After bolting from its daytime hiding place, one roe buck was fortunate enough to get trapped between a gate and post, seconds before stepping onto a road. Two residents, regardless of Coronavirus concerns, selflessly set about releasing the terrified deer.
Jez Foster, a passer-by, recounted that “it was sickening to see the poor thing there with the heavy abrasions on its side.” He and another resident gently reversed the terrified deer out of its vice like grip while onlookers phoned the emergency services. After asking for a towel to put over its head, Jez said “it calmed down considerably.”
Rescued roe buck is placed into the Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital's ambulance for immediate release in local woods.
“To be honest, I didn’t give the Coronavirus a thought as the deer needed the help.” Once it was released, Jez effortlessly picked up the struggling buck and walked it 20 yards to a nearby garage where it was left to calm down before the Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital came to collect it for a night-time release in local woods.
Marilyn Korkis, Supervisor of Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital, organised for herself and three others to visit after dark in the charity's ambulance with a slim-line deer transport crate. Despite Coronavirus fears accelerating, this dedicated team turn up regardless, but unlike key workers for people, they receive no recognition or support in this vital role.
If you have a wildlife emergency in the area you can contact Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital on 07850 778752.