ALONGSIDE the usual hazards you can encounter while negotiating Britain’s roads Autumn brings additional challenges. Darker days, wet roads, fallen leaves, and the occasional passenger of Tiggywinkles’ Toyota Hilux Animal Ambulance.
The shorter days of Autumn mean local wildlife will start to venture out earlier, while we’re all still driving around. Inevitably there are collisions, which is where Tiggywinkles come in.
The Aylesbury-based charity operates Europe’s busiest animal hospital and has been dedicated to the rescue of British wildlife for nearly 40 years. It has been using a specially adapted Toyota Hilux Invincible pick-up as an ambulance since 2013. The vehicle can easily cope with tough off-road conditions and is big enough to transport larger animals.
Large animals such as a male roe deer that recently needed emergency treatment.
Tiggywinkles spokeswoman Nikki Babb explained;
“We had a call from a member of the public who had found the deer lying at the side of the road, apparently having been hit by a car.”
After its rescue, the deer was treated for 10 days in one of the charity’s purpose-built deer sheds before being ready for release back into the wild – another job for the Hilux. For the safety of the animal, and road users, the best place to release the deer is as far away from any roads as possible. That means getting a bit dirty.
“We knew we had to get him a safe distance from the road, which is where our wonderful 4×4 comes in.” said Nikki. “We’ve had lots of rain and high winds here in Buckinghamshire, so the track was not particularly hospitable, but it was no match for the Hilux. We managed to get the deer to a wonderful secluded spot with no hassle at all. Releases and rescues are so much easier for us and for the animals, now nowhere is off-limits to our Hilux.”
The Toyota Hilux animal ambulance provided to Tiggywinkles has been specially adapted with increased ground clearance and a snorkel exhaust unit, enabling it to tackle rough terrain and flooded roads which most vehicles would fail to reach. It has also been fitted with a Truckman top over the rear deck, roof rack, high mounted LED lighting bar, front winch, towbar and Tiggywinkles livery.
When it comes to getting to those hard to reach places it seems the Toyota Hilux is the “natural” choice.