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New campaign urges public to be #WildlifeWise

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We've launched a new campaign to educate the Scottish public on when wild animals need rescued.

We see a large increase in reports of wildlife in need every Spring. But in many cases the wild animals, particularly if they are young, do not actually need assistance. That is why we have launched the#WildlifeWise campaign.

#WildlifeWise aims to get people who come across baby animals to refrain from disturbing them immediately. Instead, we want people to observe the animal from a distance and, if there is no clear sign of injury or distress, return in a few hours’ time to see if the animal is still there.

Last year, our animal helpline took over 10,000 calls about baby birds and almost 3,000 about foxes. It took around 200,000 calls in total. Over 11,000 animals were admitted to our National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fishcross in 2019.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, we continue to attend urgent rescues and investigate reports of animals in need across Scotland.

Steven Gray, wildlife manager, said: “The majority of reports the Scottish SPCA gets relate to wildlife. Last year, we had over 5,000 birds and 50 fox cubs in our wildlife centre.

“Many fox cubs, baby birds and young fawns will be left by their mother for several hours at a time. Sometimes, people come across these baby animals and disturb or move them because they think they need help. This can cause great distress to a parent if it returns to find its young are gone, and inadvertently creates a welfare issue, meaning the animal has to be taken to our wildlife centre until it is old enough to survive in the wild.

“Raising wildlife is immensely rewarding, but knowing an animal has been allowed to grow up in their natural habitat with a parent is even better. If we can limit the number of animals coming in when there is no welfare issue, it frees up our dedicated animal welfare experts to spend more time rehabilitating animals in genuine need.”

“Unless there is an obvious sign of injury, give it a few hours and check the animal again. Don’t disturb any wildlife until you have had a look on the Scottish SPCA website and, if possible, spoken to our animal helpline. Our message is simple - don’t risk creating an orphan and be wildlife wise.”

Our animal helpline is open from 7am-9pm every single day. To find out more, visit www.scottishspca.org/wildlifewise.