Four deer 'saved for Christmas' named Dancer, Prancer, Dasher and Blitzen

24 December 2019, 12:46

The deer had become trapped on a piece of land at the side of the River Irwell
The deer had become trapped on a piece of land at the side of the River Irwell. Picture: RSPCA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Four stranded deer, who were rescued by an RSPCA team from the banks of the River Irwell, have been named Dancer, Prancer, Dasher and Blitzen.

The water rescue team joined forces with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service to save the helpless animals who had been trapped on a river bank in Salford.

Officers believe the four roe deer became stranded after being washed downstream from the Kersal wetlands three days earlier.

Dasher attempted to escape by swimming upstream, but the other three stayed put and waited for the team.

The rescue effort took four hours, on top of the three days that the wild animals had been monitored for by officers.

Dasher tried to make its own way upstream
Dasher tried to make its own way upstream. Picture: RSPCA

RSPCA animal welfare officer Steve Wickham said: "When we attended the scene one of the deer, Prancer, ran off and was able to get over the high fence.

"But Dancer and Blitzen were still stranded on the land so we launched the boats to encourage them into the river.

"We were hoping to guide them upstream by encouraging them to swim away from the boats in that direction, but both were struggling.

"So we managed to safely grab each deer from the river and hauled them on to the boat and took them back upstream where we were able to free them.

"They both ran off to the area we believe they live - so they are home for Christmas at least, and maybe we can go as far as saying we saved Christmas for these four deer."

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