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Grass fires cost animals lives

(Note we haven’t published the images of the fox cubs that are mentioned in this story, as some readers might find it distressing)

RSPCA Cymru is warning of the dangers of grass fires to wild animals and are urging people to be careful when out and about in the countryside.

Hundreds of grass fires ravage Wales’ countryside each year – some of which are started deliberately. Sadly, these fires have a devastating impact on wild animals as Kirsty Thomas and her son, Gavin, discovered.

Gavin was walking their dogs between Mountain Ash and Ynysybwl when he saw fire crews tackling a grass fire. Taking a different route, he came across some burnt fox cubs who had been killed by the fire. Continuing his walk, his dogs alerted him to something in the hedges, where he discovered a badly burnt but alive fox cub.

Gavin’s mum, Kirsty, who is also a Trustee of Four Paws Animal Rescue in Newport, said,

“I wasn’t sure what he had brought home, not recognising it as a fox cub but as just a puppy. We started to clean him up and then realised that it was something else. After giving him some fluids, and taking him to the vet, we called the RSPCA.”

RSPCA inspector Gemma Cooper, commented,

“Sadly, due to this fire fox cubs have lost their lives. In many cases this is completely preventable and shows the devastating impact of grass fires, not just on property and humans but on the wildlife that calls the countryside their home.

“This fox cub (pictured above) was very lucky and is now at an RSPCA centre receiving treatment and being rehabilitated, ready to be released back into the wild later this year.”

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service has confirmed that the grass fire was started deliberately and covered one acre of grass and scrubland taking nearly 90 minutes to put out.

RSPCA Cymru would urge members of the public to be cautious if they find an injured or abandoned wild animal and to take a look at the RSPCA’s wildlife advice pages – www.rspca/adviceandwelfare/wildlife – or call the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.