The RSPCA teamed up with Nottinghamshire Police and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue to rescue a deer which had become stuck on a ledge 40 metres from the ground.
Workers at Breedon Quarry, at Breedon-on-the-Hill, on the Derbyshire and Leicestershire border, spotted the stricken deer stuck on a ledge 20 metres down from the top of the quarry earlier this month
RSPCA Animal Collection Officer (ACO) Caitlin McNaughton attended the incident on Thursday, June 19 and called Leicestershire Fire and Rescue rope rescue team for assistance.
A firefighter abseiled towards the male fallow deer but as it was frightened there was a fear he would jump off the ledge and fall to his death. So the RSPCA, fire service and Nottingham Police came up with a rescue plan to try to save the deer and revisited the site on Monday June 23.
This time it was decided to sedate the deer using a dart and using ropes lifted him back up the sheer rock face.
RSPCA chief inspector Simon Parker, who is specially trained using a dart gun, was called away to another emergency so PC Jonathan Whysall of Nottinghamshire Police dog section stepped in.
PC Whysall successfully managed to reach the large deer safely and sedated him. A stretcher which is used for rescuing people was then lowered down and the deer was attached to it and then pulled to safety.
The deer was then checked over by a vet and the RSPCA and was found to be fit and healthy and once he was unstrapped from the stretcher he ran off into nearby woodland (see video attached).
Caitlin said: “It was a difficult rescue because the deer was stuck 20 metres down a rock face and 40 metres above ground. We were obviously worried because the deer was terrified and there was a real concern if anyone went near he would try to escape which would mean jumping off.
“So we decided the safest way for the best outcome would be to go down and sedate him and then bring him back up.
“I was so delighted it all worked perfectly but it took sometime to get him from the ledge - because he was so heavy he needed a stretcher rather than a harness and it took about two hours to get him back to the top.
“But I checked him over along with my colleague ACO Helen Fielding along with a vet and he was found to be in really good condition.
“He didn’t have a scratch on him which is amazing considering he fell such a long way down a sharp rock face. He was also lucky as the ledge did have some greenery on and the recent rain would have helped keep him hydrated.
“We were able to release him near a woodland nearby and he ran off looking pleased to get away. He was one very fortunate deer and it was great that teamwork with the police and fire service and also quarry staff certainly saved his life. We are always grateful for this assistance.”
PC Whysall said: “The deer was clearly very frightened, and to make sure it didn’t cause itself any further harm the rescue plan had to be very carefully thought out.
“Working together with the RSPCA and the fire and rescue service, we decided it would be best to sedate the deer and use ropes to lift him to safety.
“There are a number of us who are specially trained to use sedation for safety purposes, so when the RSPCA called upon us due to their trained Chief Inspector being called away to another emergency, I was happy to help.”
“We’re very pleased that he was okay, and it was beautiful to see him run off into the woodland safe and well,” added PC Whysall.
“Had we not been able to do this it could have been quite another story for the poor deer.”
If left alone by people, deer and other wild animals can often find their way out of being stuck in unfamiliar environments, so if an animal is safe to be left we will advise it is left to find it’s own way home. But sometimes, like in the case of these deer, if they are in severe distress they may need a little extra help from animal rescue organisations like the RSPCA.