Pippa’s Army came to the rescue to help save thousands of dying fish on Tuesday 22 September. The Havering animal rescue charity save many cats and dogs on a daily basis but this was the first time an urgent SOS was put out to rescue thousands of fish.
Lauren from East Tilbury was out with her two young children taking them to a park on the Bata estate when she saw the fish struggle to survive in very little amounts of water in a nearby storm drain.
She told the Havering Daily: “I had taken my two children out to the play area and went passed the storm drain and saw all these poor fish desperately struggling to breath in just a few inches of water, it was awful.
“I’m seven months pregnant so I couldn’t actually get into the muddy water so I put out an appeal for help on Pippa’s Army facebook page to see if anyone could help and the response was amazing. Around fifty people came out with buckets and storage boxes to help save these fish.
“The whole community stepped in to get these poor fish out and transport them to ponds where they can live happily. It was fantastic to see, people came out with wellies and jumped straight in to rescue the fish.”
The area on the Bata estate looks like a lake but is believed to be a storm drain and not meant to have fish there.
Lauren continued: “I think people went and dumped their unwanted fish and now they have reproduced and there are thousands of them. We made many phone calls to see who the lake belongs to and then discovered that the area isn’t supposed to have fish there.
The fish were taken to various ponds such as Barleylands and ponds in Hockley and some residents even kept the fish in their paddling pools until they could be transported to their new home.
After contacting the Environment Agency the team discovered that the area isn’t designed to be a pond which is why the water was draining away and are now looking into ways to stop this from happening in the future.