Watch: Coastguard, lifeguards and wildlife teams rescue deer from seafront

Animal rescue teams successfully released the deer back into the wild
Animal rescue teams successfully released the deer back into the wild

THE coastguard and lifeguards helped animal rescuers save a deer from the seafront.

The adult roe deer ended up on the beach in Eastbourne between the Western Lawns and Holywell after being chased by a dog into the water.

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) worked with the coastguard, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, the RNLI, lifeguards and Eastbourne Borough Council to help it.

A first attempt to corner the deer failed due to the vast open space and the animal's ability to move faster than humans on shingle.

Trevor Weeks, operations director for East Sussex WRAS who helped lead the rescue, said: “We knew capture was going to be difficult on the beach but we had to try.

“After having seen the deer struggle to get out of the water and then lay down exhausted, we were surprised at just how lively it was when we made our first approach.

“It shot off at high speed along the beach in the direction of Eastbourne Pier, jumping over groynes and on several occasions swimming out to sea and being chased by dogs.

“The RNLI were able to encourage the deer ashore near the Lifeboat Museum where it went to ground hiding in some bushes.”

Rescuers using two nets, helped by the coastguard and RNLI, were able to surround the deer. As Trevor approached it slipped under one of the nets but lost its footing and was soon restrained by the team on the promenade.

The deer was loaded on to a stretcher and into the back of WRAS's veterinary ambulance and driven up near Beachy Head for release.

Trevor said: “It's not that uncommon for deer to come down into the residential areas of Eastbourne. We have even had them in Terminus Road by the shop.

“It's not that difficult for them to come off the Downs near Paradise Drive and gain access to the town.”

Keith Ring, one of the WRAS senior rescuers at the scene, said: “We would normally leave well alone when a deer is out at sea off the shore and let it come back to shore once people move away.

“The big problem here was the volume of people on the seafront and the deer being unable to get off the beach safely without the risk of further harm from dogs and traffic.”