Heralded as a “major step forward for wildlife welfare in Scotland” and funded entirely by donations, the £3.5 million development at Fishcross, near Alloa, was officially opened by the Rt Hon George Reid today.
The new centre gives 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, 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.
“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.
Colin said, “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.”
The Rt Hon George Reid, Lord-Lieutenant of Clackmannanshire and a past Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament and both MP and MSP for the area, 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.
Anyone who discovers an injured or distressed wild animal should call the Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.