< > W109 - The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Scottish SPCA) - http://www.scottishspca.org

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Organisation Reference The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Scottish SPCA)
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This information has been provided by The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Scottish SPCA) and is supplied in its original format.

The Scottish SPCA was founded in 1839 to prevent cruelty to animals and to promote kindness and humanity in their treatment.

As an active partner in PAW, the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime, the Inspectorate is working with all the police forces in Scotland, the Ministry of Defence Police, the RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Executive in order to highlight and combat wildlife crime. Our highly trained Inspectors investigate horrific cases involving the illegal use of traps, snares and poisons. Many of the victims suffer protracted and painful deaths, but for those that survive, or for the many wildlife casualties, the Society’s specialist wildlife Centre at Middlebank in Dunfermline is where Society staff work to rehabilitate animals to return them to the wild.

Middlebank is the Scottish SPCA's Wildlife Centre. It aims to rehabilitate sick and injured wildlife and return them to their natural habitat as soon as possible. It is not a sanctuary, and does not keep any animal for display purposes. It deals with all British Wildlife except Cetaceans. The Centre treats over 2,000 wild animals every year. Injured birds of prey, oiled sea birds, injured swans, abandoned seal pups, and underweight hedgehogs, are just some of the ‘patients’ successfully rehabilitated by the highly trained team.

The story of the Scottish SPCA Middlebank Wildlife Centre began in 1986, when the Centre first opened to deal with the ever-increasing numbers of seabirds suffering from the effects of oil pollution. From that simple beginning, the Centre has grown and now incorporates a Seal Treatment Unit, wild bird aviaries, wildfowl ponds and an exciting education facility – the Discovery Room.

The Centre is run by a small team of dedicated staff backed up by an army of volunteers. Both staff and volunteers are highly trained in the handling, treatment and rehabilitation of wildlife.

The Oiled Bird Cleaning Centre at Middlebank is the only one of its kind in Scotland and currently deals with birds from all over Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern parts of England. Large numbers of birds from the ‘Braer’ oil spillage in Shetland, brought the Centre a well deserved international reputation and more recently, birds from the ‘Sea Empress’ spillage at Milford Haven were flown up by helicopter for treatment. Cleaning an oiled bird is no easy task; it can take two people up to 2 hours to remove every trace of oil from a small bird and anything up to 5 hours to clean a large bird such as a swan.

Seals and seal pups in need of help, are brought to the Seal Treatment Unit at Middlebank. Many ‘patients’ arrive at the Centre due to the good but misguided intentions of the general public. Seal pups are often seen lying on the beach and it is easy to assume that they have been abandoned. In the majority of cases their mother is simply feeding out at sea. If the pups are touched they will carry human scent and will not be accepted if they are returned to their mothers. However, many of the pups currently being cared for by our staff were very thin when they were found and their mother may have been killed at sea. If there is any doubt, we would ask the public to telephone our Inspectorate Central Control on 0131-339 0111- a phone call could save a life. When a pup needs help, they will spend around 3 months being hand reared by the Middlebank team. Once there, they are fed on a special diet until they are old enough or fit enough to eat small fish. When they achieve a target weight they are released back into the wild.

Middlebank has cared for some unusual animals in the recent past – a pelican found outside a pub in Aberdeen, an ‘off-course’ gyr falcon and a mongoose!

Dates Referenced August 2001
Contact Details

Scottish SPCA
Braehead Mains
603 Queensferry Road

Tel 0131 339 0222
Fax 0131 339 4777

To report suspected cruelty or an animal in distress, ring: Animal Helpline: 03000 999 999

Scottish SPCA Middlebank Wildlife Centre
Masterton Road
KY11 8QN

Tel: 01383 412 520
Fax: 01383 411 398

Members of the public can bring casualties to the Centre during the following times:

April until September: 8.30 until 10pm 7 days a week.
October to March: 8.30 until 5pm 7 days a week.

Outwith these times, there is a member of staff on call who can be contacted on mobile phone number 07733 007 257.

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