Autumn is a high-risk season for wildlife, with darker days, colder weather and bonfires increasing the risk of injuries and illness. The team at Tiggywinkles are well-prepared to help with their Toyota Hilux animal ambulance, which has proved invaluable in rescuing animals in need in hard-to-reach locations. The latest of these patient passengers was a male roe deer which was rescued and cared for after a traumatic incident.
The Aylesbury-based charity, which operates Europe’s busiest animal hospital, has been using a specially adapted Hilux Invincible pick-up since 2013. The vehicle, provided by Toyota, can cope with tough off-road conditions and is also big enough to transport larger animals, such as the stag that recently needed emergency treatment.
Tiggywinkles spokeswoman Nikki Babb explained: “We had a call from a member of the public who had found the deer lying at the side of the road, apparently having been hit by a car.” After its rescue, the animal, underwent 10 days of treatment in one of the charity’s purpose-built deer sheds before being ready for release back into the wild – another job for the Hilux.
“This is when the Hilux proves vital to us, as we need a large and secure method of transporting a very lively and incredibly strong adult deer,” said Nikki. “Our team carefully catch the animal and get him safely contained in one of our deer boxes. This can then be secured in the back of the Hilux, well away from us in the cab (the smell and sounds of humans would be distressing for him) and in darkness to keep him calm. “
Once at the release site, the Hilux again proved its value. “We knew we had to get him a safe distance from the road, which is where our wonderful 4×4 comes in.” said Nikki. “We’ve had lots of rain and high winds here in Buckinghamshire, so the track was not particularly hospitable, but it was no match for the Hilux. We managed to get the deer to a wonderful secluded spot with no hassle at all. Releases and rescues are so much easier for us and for the animals, now nowhere is off-limits to our Hilux.”
Tiggywinkles has been dedicated to the rescue, treatment and rehabilitation of British wildlife for nearly 40 years. Tending to more than 10,000 casualties a year, caring for all species from hedgehogs and badgers to deer and swans. The organisation runs entirely on donations and receives no public funding.
The all-wheel drive Hilux provided to Tiggywinkles has been adapted with increased ground clearance and a snorkel exhaust unit, enabling it to tackle rough terrain and flooded roads which most vehicles would fail to reach. Also, it has been fitted with a Truckman top over the rear deck, roof rack, high mounted LED lighting bar, front winch, towbar and Tiggywinkles livery.
To find out more about Tiggywinkles and the incredible work that they do, go to http://www.sttiggywinkles.org.uk