Ferret in sink waste among animals rescued by firefighters this year

This ferret was found playing with a cat on Wellesley Road in Great Yarmouth. The owners have not ye

This ferret was found playing with a cat on Wellesley Road in Great Yarmouth. The owners have not yet claimed him. - Credit: Archant

A ferret trapped in a sink waste, a kestrel stuck in tree netting and a stag trapped behind an oil tank were among the animals rescued by firefighters in Norfolk in 2020.

Each year, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is called out scores of times to the aid of animals in peril, alongside its duties protecting people from fires, flooding and assisting other emergency services.

The textbook image of a firefighter helping a stranded cat from a tree is one that we are all familiar with, becoming a regular fixture in cartoons, comics and on television. 

A cat has got stuck up a tree in Lenwade. Picture: Ian Burt

A cat has got stuck up a tree in Lenwade. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

But new figures have shown that it is far more than felines in predicaments that the fire service was called upon to help during 2020.

More than 120 calls were made to Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service to assist an animal in peril in the past 12 months - although crews were not required to attend in all of these cases.


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While these did inevitably include a fair few feckless felines - more than a dozen - other animals in need of the service included a ferret, a kestrel and several deer. 

A kestrel is among birds which have been targeted by egg thieves.

A kestrel is among birds which have been targeted by egg thieves. - Credit: Archant

And the sight of a cat stuck on a roof is familiar, on one occasion in August it was a dog that found itself in this predicament.

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Some of the more unusual rescues included:

  • Feburary 23 - a ferret trapped in the waste of a sink in Drayton
  • May 6 - a kestrel which had got stuck in netting in a tree in Haveringland
  • May 20 - a duckling stuck in a drain in Swaffham
  • June 5 - a jackdaw stuck down a chimney in Norwich
  • June 18 - two swans stuck in a sluice gate in Hellesdon
  • August 1 - a dog stuck on a flat roof in Gorleston
  • August 4 - a parrot stuck on a rope at the top of a tree in Barford

However, while the fire service will be called to assist animals in the most severe of circumstances, their callouts are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to helping animals in need.

The vast majority of the time, it will be the RSPCA and volunteer organisations like Norfolk Wildlife Rescue that attend. 

In August, the RSCPA told of how it had been called to attend close to 2,000 incidents during lockdown alone, including one mischievous kitten who needed saving on three separate occasions.

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