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Scottish SPCA reflect on some unusual rescues over lockdown

Unusual rescues
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Unusual rescues

The Scottish SPCA has shared some of the unusual rescues they have undertaken since lockdown. This includes some stuck swans, two very lost sheep and an acrobatic fox!

Scotland’s animal welfare charity is reflecting on some of their most interesting rescues ahead of their Scottish Animal Week celebrations, which begin on 14 September.

The Society has continued to rescue and care for animals since lockdown began.

In April, inspector Maggie Adkins rescued an injured lamb from the cliffs of North Tolsta on the Isle of Lewis. Another was saved from a small cave behind a waterfall at Calderglen Country Park. And a very surprised motorist discovered a fox cub sleeping in their car engine in Dunfermline!

The expert team at the Scottish SPCA’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre was kept busy over lockdown, caring for nearly 3,000 wild animals and releasing 700 back to the wild between March and the end of June. They were made busier by two swans who got themselves in to a tight spot.

The swans were rescued in Ayr after they were found trapped between a metal pipe and brickwork by a member of the public. The birds were stuck tight, couldn’t move and were clearly in distress.

Scottish SPCA chief inspector Elaine Lindsay said: “The swans had somehow become trapped between a large metal pipe and the wall. We have no idea how they both managed to get stuck there!

“They were wedged in quite tightly but thankfully we were able to get them out and transport them to our National Wildlife Rescue Centre so they could receive the TLC they needed.”

Last month saw the most unusual rescues of all.

The Scottish SPCA successfully reunited a lost sugar glider with its owner, after the small marsupial was found hanging from a towel pegged to a washing line on a balcony area four storeys high in Glasgow.

Scottish SPCA animal rescue officer, Amy Stirton, said: “I’ve never come across a sugar glider in Scotland so this was a very unusual rescue! Sugar gliders get their name from the fact their diet is high in sweet foods such as nectar and pollen. They can also glide the length of a football pitch in one go due to their tiny webbed ‘wings’.  

Thankfully, after appealing to the public, the owner came forward. The sugar glider’s name is Mila and he was successfully reunited with his family members Chilli and Cuba.”

A caller was decorating a bedroom when they started to hear noises from behind a wall.

They ended up cutting a hole in the only wall they had papered and were astonished to find a gull had fallen down an old chimney and was wedged behind breeze blocks. It seemed only natural to name the bird Breeze!

Animal rescue officer Eilidh attended and managed to free him. After an examination to make sure there were no serious injuries, Eilidh took him home so he could rest in a cosy bed and be fed to get his energy up before releasing him.

The following day Eilidh released him on the beach of a seaside town where he enthusiastically returned to his natural habitat.

The Scottish SPCA was contacted by a concerned member of the public who had found an osprey unable to fly on a path next to the River Teith in Deanston.

The osprey had no obvious injuries, but was whisked to the Scottish SPCA National Wildlife Rescue. Our expert wildlife team named him Egg and have been getting his strength up with a diet of trout. He is receiving the care and treatment he needs to get him to full health before his release and migration to Africa for the winter.

To round off the month, the Scottish SPCA were alerted to a fox taking a cat nap in the stairwell of a block of flats.

The caller opened their front door to find the fox curled up in a ball on a comfy door mat. The caller tried to tempt it downstairs and back outside with food, but it panicked and ended up between a wall and a pipe! This is how our animal rescue officer, Sarah, found her when she arrived!

The fox was safely encouraged out of the stairwell by Sarah Parker. Thankfully the fox had no injuries and was successfully returned to the wild after her indoor ordeal.

Scottish Animal Week begins on 14 September. The Scottish SPCA are going to be showcasing the vital roles animals have played over lockdown by celebrating the animals they’ve cared for, rehomed and rescued. Keep an eye on the Scottish SPCA’s social media channels for updates.