Among the unusual rescues performed by the Scottish SPCA last year were a swan on a roof, a pine marten trapped in a bird feeder and a stranded seal.
For the whole year, the animal control association saved and cared for animals in the pandemic.
Animal rescue officer Stuart Louch was summoned to the rare rescue of a pine marten in November. The pine marten had her foot stuck in a bird feeder in a garden in Doune, Perthshire, where she came to feed daily. It can be very difficult to handle pine martens, so it was an attempt to remove him from the bird feeder safely.
I’m intrigued by pine martens,” Stuart said, “so this rescue was particularly exciting for me.
As of last night, the pine marten could have been trapped and was ready to be released from the feeder. He was quite fidgety, so extracting him safely was a pretty difficult job.
“After I freed him, he clung to my glove and we had a little wrestling match! I was then able to release him nearby, much to the delight of the caller who enjoys watching the pine marten in his garden.”
With 6,711 admissions from March to the end of 2020, the Scottish SPCA’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre specialist team was busy during the lockdown. At Eyemouth in Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders, one admission was a seal in distress.
The seal in Killiedraught Bay, which is surrounded by cliffs and difficult to navigate, had taken to the water. At the top of the cliffs, Inspector Jenny Scott had to abandon her van and make her way down to the seal pup that was injured.
Jenny looks back on the rescue operation, “The seal pup had some pretty ugly looking injuries on its fins, so at our wildlife clinic it needed veterinary care.”
I managed to keep the pup back, but then I had to make my way up the steep, muddy cliff path with a 39kg seal to my car!
A mail carrier nearby, luckily, had seen my fight and came to help me. During my rescue, he rescued me!
That made things a lot easier for the trip and we got the pup safely into the van. At our wildlife center, she is now healing and receiving the care that she needs.
“Many thanks to the kind mailman, without him I would have really struggled to get up the cliff.”
In October, another rare rescue was that of a swan on a roof with the aid of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service at the Easterhouse Sports Centre in Glasgow.
After a caller had been monitoring the male swan since the day before, Amy Stirton, the animal rescue officer for the Scottish SPCA, was on the scene to see if it would fly off on its own.
Amy said of the rescue, “The swan had made himself comfortable in the gutter and was hard to spot, but fortunately he was spotted by an eagle-eyed member of the public and called our helpline.”
We believe that he made a move for the wrong woman and her friend was chased onto the roof!
“As I had no way to get on the roof as the leisure center was closed, I had to call the local fire department for help.
The swan wasn’t too happy to have been rescued because he seemed to have found a nice spot with water flowing like a moat all around the house!
But we released him back onto Hogganfield Pond once he was safely off the roof,”But once he was safely off the roof, we released him back onto Hogganfield Pond,”
“We are very grateful to the Easterhouse Fire Department, who were invaluable in rescuing the swan safely.”