Distressed ducklings among animals rescued by firefighters in Redbridge

Redbridge firefighters have rescued some of Redbridge’s smallest, and fluffiest residents, in the last year.

Ducklings down drains and geese in a flap were among the animals rescued by crews, but the number of calls to creature calamities has fallen.

Firefighters in the borough were called to only 13 animal rescues in 2012/13, compared to 20 the year before.

In one incident, a crew had to help a goose family stranded in Woodford Green in May.

A concerned member of the public called to say the birds were in a “precarious” position in the High Road but by the time the crew arrived, one adult goose had fallen foul of the traffic and been decapitated.

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Its partner was left in a flap running around the busy road, leaving their five goslings in danger.

Watch manager Terry Jayes said firefighters “ushered” the family out of the road and to safety.

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Firefighters also had to fish a family of drowning ducklings out a storm drain, in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, in May.

Calls to animals trapped across London have fallen by more than half in the last year - down from 650 incidents in 2011/12 to 282.

London Fire Brigade group manager Mark Hazelton said: “It’s excellent news that the number of animal rescues has fallen and that people have clearly taken heed of our advice. Who knows, perhaps firefighters rescuing cats from trees may soon be a thing of the past.

“I’d still like to remind people that if they see an animal stuck somewhere, the first port of call should always be the RSPCA, not the emergency services.

“When firefighters are out rescuing animals, they’re not available to attend real emergencies.”

Each rescue costs the brigade at least £290. People are urged to call the RSPCA if they see an animal in difficulty, rather than dialing 999.

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