A PAIR of abandoned seals, three orphaned song thrushes and a stray badger cub are among the first animals being nursed at Scotland’s newest wildlife rescue centre.

The nation’s first purpose-built facility was opened yesterday to cope with a major surge in demand for treating sick and injured wild animals, as the Scottish SPCA revealed it has had to deal with a 75 per cent increase over the past five years.

The new £3.5 million National Wildlife Rescue Centre at Fishcross, near Alloa, will provide unrivalled care for creatures ranging from seals and otters to swans and birds of prey.

The centre’s manager, Colin Seddon, hailed the facility as a “major step forward for wildlife welfare in Scotland”. He said it would give the Scottish SPCA increased capacity to rescue and rehabilitate up to 5,000 sick, injured and orphaned wild animals each year.

It is the only centre in Scotland with facilities to care for oiled birds, capable of dealing with up to 1,000 oiled bird casualties at once. The centre will also be able to care for up to 40 sick or injured seals at any one time, and the facilities include swan and otter pools, aviaries, wild mammal enclosures, paddocks and a stable block for deer.

Mr Seddon said: “We cared for 3,917 wild animals in 2011, including 2,678 birds, which is a staggering 75 per cent 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.

Kaniz Hyat with Bramble the badger cub. Picture: PA

“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.”

He added: “This is a major step forward for wildlife welfare in Scotland, with our ability to treat all kinds 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 centre, funded entirely by donations, was officially opened by George Reid, the Lord-Lieutenant of Clackmannanshire and a former Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament.

He 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 new facility replaces the SSPCA’s previous rescue centre at Middlebank in Fife, which was originally designed as an oiled- bird cleaning unit. It is not open to visitors but members of the public can take sick or injured wild animals there for treatment.

• Already, 60 creatures have been rescued and are being cared for at Fishcross. Among the first were two young grey seals found stranded and injured on rocky beaches in the Outer Hebrides following a storm. They will be nursed back to health and re-released into the River Forth. A group of three newly fledged song thrushes, whose nest was destroyed, are being hand-reared along with other fledglings including mallard ducks, blackbirds, and a tawny owl.

VIDEO Wildlife of Scotland

Responses to "Scotland gets its own wildlife A&E hospital"

  1. shewolfuk says:

    thats great news.x

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