11:32 am - Monday May 28, 2012

Scotland gets its Own Wildlife A&E Hospital

A £3.5 million wildlife rescue centre has been created in response to a rising number of sick, injured and orphaned wild animals requiring treatment.

The SSPCA (Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has seen a 75 per cent increase in the number of wild animals being treated by its vets.

Scotland’s first National Wildlife Rescue Centre has been funded entirely by donations, and has been heralded as a “major step forward for wildlife welfare in Scotland”.

The £3.5 million development at Fishcross, near Alloa, was officially opened by former Holyrood Presiding Officer George Reid this morning.

The new centre gives the Scottish SPCA increased capacity to rescue and rehabilitate up to 5,000 wild animals each year.

It is the only centre in Scotland with facilities to care for oiled birds, with staff being able to deal with up to 1,000 oiled bird casualties at any one time.

Colin Seddon, National Wildlife Rescue Centre Manager, said: “We cared for 3,917 wild animals in 2011, including 2,678 birds, which is a staggering 75% more than five years ago.

“The demands on our services have increased at such a rate that our previous centre at Middlebank in Fife, which was originally designed as an oiled bird cleaning unit, was being stretched to cope with the volume and diversity of animals we were rescuing.

“We often had to transfer wildlife to other organisations to continue their rehabilitation but we can now care for every type of wild animal found in Scotland from rescue to release, with only whales and dolphins the exception.

spring babies“This is a major step forward for wildlife welfare in Scotland, with our ability to treat all kinds of birds and wild mammals having been greatly enhanced.

“Animals will now be cared for in one place right up until they are ready to be released back into their natural habitat, keeping human interaction and stress to an absolute minimum.”

The new wildlife rescue centre has veterinary facilities, seal, swan and otter pools, aviaries, wild mammal enclosures, paddocks and a stable block for deer.

Mr Seddon added: “It’s a huge privilege for our dedicated team to be able to rehabilitate birds of prey, seals, otters and deer back to health, along with the hundreds of common garden birds and hedgehogs who might otherwise suffer and die without our help.

“We are extremely proud of our progress and grateful to all our supporters who have made it possible for us to build this much needed centre.”

Mr Reid said: “This is a state of the art facility in which all Scotland can take pride.
“It is an ideal location, easily accessible from both coasts and from the north and south of the country.”

The Scottish SPCA’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre is not open to visitors.

However members of the public can take sick or injured wild animals to the centre for treatment.
The centre currently holds 60 birds and animals.

Bramble, an orphaned badger cub, was found unconscious in Aberdeen when he was only a few weeks old.

He was taken to a local veterinary surgery before being transferred to the centre.
Wildlife assistant Kaniz Hyat, who is hand-rearing the cub, said he was not old enough to be above ground.

Ms Hyat said: “He is doing really well now, he’s getting more of his badger traits.
“He stays with me and comes home with me. He’s being bottle-fed just now until he’s a bit older and starts weaning at about 10-12 weeks.

“Then I’m hands-off, I won’t get to see him at all. But you could never have a tame badger, it’s only right he goes back into the wild.”

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