Killing with Kindness
It is always very sad when an animal comes to WildLives too late to be helped, and it is doubly distressing when this happens because someone intended to help, but actually makes matters worse. The little hedgehog shown above was picked up by a member of the public who realised it needed help. Unfortunately they did not know enough about hedgehogs, and they only realised how ill it was when all its spines fell out. When it arrived at WildLives it was quickly diagnosed as suffering from mange, an extremely painful and unpleasant condition that kills.
It is in the advanced stage of the disease that the hedgehog becomes bald, and the debilitating effects of the mange had already resulted in it becoming extremely emaciated.
As if this was not bad enough, on further examination it was found to have a crushed leg, that had become badly infected during the three weeks it spent being 'looked after' before finally being brought to WildLives. After it had been built up enough to withstand surgery the leg was amputated by a vet, but it was all too late for this little animal who died a few days later.
A shelduck also died this month from well-meaning, but wrong, care. Picked up on the beach, its finders thought it was suffering from fleas, so bathed it then doused it in dog flea powder. Not only did the duck breathe the powder, causing breathing difficulties, but ingested it whilst trying to preen itself. On the still wet and cold duck, the flea powder quickly formed a hard crust. In spite of great efforts by WildLives staff, the duck died of cold from being left wet and poisoning from the fleapowder.
Another hedgehog was brought in after having been kept for some time, and had such appalling abcesses to the throat and side of the face that she could not open her mouth to eat. Fortunately, she is likely to have a happy ending - after treatment to the abcesses, in spite of terrible holes left in her face and neck, she is now eating well.
Gull makes full recovery
A juvenile Great Black-back gull, brought to the centre completely collapsed and emaciated, has recovered fully(pictured left) after intensive care and tube feeding. He was recently released onto the lake, where he stayed for a few days enjoying 'full board' before joining the collection of gulls who visit to feed on a 'half board' basis!
Any wild animal that can be easily approached is likely to be very ill. If you find an animal or bird, please call WildLives for advice. We are always happy to discuss problems, no matte how small. If you care about animals, a phone call will help you to help them - not kill them.
First babies of the year
Five little wood mice, with their eyes still closed, became the first orphans of the year at WildLives when their mother ate poison. They are all doing well, and are expected to be released in about two weeks, weather permitting.
Someone else's problem
Leon, the Tendring council Wildlife Officer, was recently called to a fox, collapsed in a well-frequented area. On arrival he was helpfully informed by a number of people that it had 'been there for days'. This fox died for want of a phone call. If someone had reported his plight when he was first seen, he could now be recovering. Instead, in spite of the best efforts of WildLives staff, it was too late for him when he finally reached the hospital, and he died shortly after admission. A quick phone call can save a life - please don't assume someone else will do it.
Blackbird released
On a happier note, the blackbird pictured in January, who had been illegally kept as a pet and was very sick, made a full recovery and grew a fine new suit of feathers. She was released this week and has been seen around WildLives, being courted by two handsome male blackbirds!
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