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Race to save water voles across the south

The number of water voles in the south has been declining Credit: ITV Meridian

The number of water voles in our region has been declining rapidly over the last century.

The People's Trust for Endangered Species is now asking for the public's help to count how many of the animals live across the South.

Conservationists say habitat loss and the release and spread of American mink has led to the problem.

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Wildlife charity sees casualties treble in recent weeks

Fox cubs abandoned by their mother, who were hand reared by members of the East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service in Hailsham Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

A sussex wildlife charity says its seen the number of casualties its dealing with more than treble in recent weeks.

The Wildlife and Rescue Ambulance Service says fox clubs and ducklings are among the animals its had to treat. They say at this time of year animals are more at risk as they search for food and protect their newborns.

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Aquarium sees unexpected breeding boom of pipefish

Baby pipefish at aquarium Credit: Hastings’ Blue Reef Aquarium

Keepers at Hastings’ Blue Reef Aquarium are looking after dozens of baby pipefish following an unexpected breeding boom.

More than 100 tiny five-centimetre-long broadnose pipefish babies have already been born with potentially hundreds more due imminently.

The newborns are being looked after in one of the aquarium’s nursery displays where they all appear to be in excellent condition.

Pipefish are closely related to seahorses and, like them, it is the male that incubates the eggs and gives birth to the young. Rows of eggs are laid by the female onto a special pad on the male’s belly, and here the eggs develop.

The young are born free swimming with relatively little or no yolk sac, and begin feeding immediately. From the time they hatch they are totally independent.

Pipefish feed on small crustaceans such as mysid shrimps and tiny creatures called copepods. An adult greater pipefish needs to eat several hundred tiny shrimps in one day.

Woman finds dead lizard on jacket she bought in Asda

A dead gecko was found squashed into this coat Credit: Paula Dunican

A woman from Canterbury was horrified to find a very dead, very squashed gecko inside a jacket she bought at Asda.

The £25 garment had a "seeping stain" in the lining which Paula Dunican discovered in the lining when she got it home.

The stain turned out to be the decaying body of the unfortunate animal.

Geckos are a type of lizard, usually found in warm climates.

Asda has offered Mrs Dunican a refund and a £40 voucher. They told ITV Meridian: “We’d like to apologise again to Mrs Dunican for any upset caused, and reassure her this was an isolated incident.”

Happy ending for lost cat found starving to death

Two Sussex cats - including one who went missing for 18 months - have been reunited with their owners because they were wearing microchips.

The RSPCA have said the felines were lucky to be alive as they were close to starving when one was found in a garage with no windows and the other was stuck in an enclosed back yard.

Both were traced thanks to the cats' microchips and it's sparked a warning from the RSPCA reminding owners to get their pets chipped.

Honey, a one year-old calico-coloured cat, was found in a padlocked garage with no windows Credit: RSPCA

These two cases show how important it is to get your cat microchipped, and keep those details updated. Poor Honey must have felt so anxious in that dark, windowless garage for all that time - she could have easily starved to death in there as it was used as storage space and not opened very often.

“She was unlucky to get stuck in there, but then very lucky a passer-by heard her. She shot out at full speed when I opened the garage - it was a good job I had some food handy to entice her back to me. She was unhurt but pretty hungry, and skinny - I don’t think there was much food or water in there."

– Liz Wheeler, RSPCA inspector
An eight year-old black tom cat called Spider, was found the next day after he had been missing from his owner, who had moved to London from Brighton Credit: RSPCA
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