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The red squirrel is a protected species.

Hectic times at The Hogsprickle

Bev Truss
Bev Truss

WE have had a busy couple of weeks at The Hogsprickle.

One of the vets at Ceithre Cos Vets in Tulla phoned concerned about a fallow deer fawn that had been hit by a car. The driver rescued the fawn and took him to the vet to be checked. We picked up the fawn following rescue protocols, as dealing with deer is not an easy job. They are terrified of human contact and can sometime die with the stress of being handled, especially if injured.

This little female was in such shock she stayed quiet and her head was covered while we transported her to The Hogsprickle to be stabilised, before transport to the specialist wildlife unit in Kildare. Their vet, who specialises in wildlife, confirmed a break in her pelvis. She is in the hands of the rehabilitators at Kildare and, paws crossed, she makes it back to the wild.

The same week we got a call about a “funny little animal” picked up by a rescuer walking his dogs. A text picture confirmed baby red squirrel. He was so young his eyes hadn’t opened. The area where the baby or pup (sometimes kitten) was found had some tree felling and we surmised the pup had fallen from the nest and mum had been frightened off. Mother squirrels, or does, will usually look for their pups and will even adopt other pups from a nest or drays where the original doe hasn’t returned. He was cold and very dehydrated when we picked him up and spent three days here getting the best TLC and getting used to being bottle fed by a human surrogate, namely myself, before yet another trip to the Kildare unit to join another pup.

They are both doing really well and once weaned, they will start their journey to being returned back to the wild. I should mention that red squirrels are a protected species and we do our best to get them back to the wild to help the numbers thrive. Grey squirrels don’t have that protection.

We also spend part of the day observing a swan cygnet at Dromoland who had been reported to us as being injured. The little one had been attacked a few months back by a fox cub and had damaged wings. However he is with mum and dad (pen and cob) and his sibling and is eating and swimming without any problems, so the decision was made to leave him there.

David at Dromoland Falconry and the lady who made the call will keep an eye on the little one and if he gets into difficulty, we will over-winter him here and give his wings a chance to develop properly.

That’s just some of the rescues we deal with and, of course, we continue to get calls about hedgehogs needing rescue and veterinary treatment. Birds and bats are also common species who need our help and we would like to say a huge thank you to the vets in the county who continue to support The Hogsprickle and our rescue efforts, as well as the members of the public willing to step up and rescue and transport animals to us and further afield to get specialist help.

The Hogsprickle is a non-profit wildlife rescue. Dealing with wildlife brings challenges that working with domestic and pet animals don’t have. Visit our website www.thehogsprickle.weebly.com to make a donation or to volunteer to help with transport.

There is also a half day wildlife rescue course that will train rescuers in handling and transport protocols. We have had calls from Limerick, Kerry, Cork and Waterford from the local SPCA and members of the public. When the shout goes out we can’t afford to say no, Ireland’s wildlife belongs to us all.

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