Scottish SPCA open new Alloa wildlife rescue centre

Alex Morris with Poppy the fox cub Wildlife assistant Alex Morris looks after one of the centre's first patients - Poppy the fox cub

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The Scottish SPCA has opened a new national wildlife rescue centre at Fishcross, near Alloa.

The charity said a 75% increase in the number of wild animals being treated over the last five years had prompted them to open the new £3.5m development.

The centre will have the capacity to treat up to 5,000 sick, injured and orphaned wild animals each year.

The Scottish SPCA said the move was a "major step forward for wildlife welfare in Scotland".

Colin Seddon, manager of the new national wildlife rescue centre 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."

Bracken the badger The centre can treat up to 5,000 animals a year, including Bracken the badger cub

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

Mr Seddon said members of the public would not be able to visit the centre because human interaction with the animals had to be kept to an absolute minimum.

He said: "We have to keep the public out of this facility because our main aim is to get animals back to the wild which means they can't be tame, so we have to limit any sort of human contact with all the animals on site for their own benefit".

The centre was opened by George Reid, a past presiding officer of the Scottish parliament and both MP and MSP for the area.

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 centre was funded entirely by donations.

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