MORE than 3,000 wild animals were released back into their natural habitat after being cared for in Clackmannanshire last year.

According to data from the Scottish SPCA, 3,375 animals were released after being cared for at the National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fishcross.

Steve Gray, Scottish SPCA National Wildlife Rescue Centre manager, said: "Despite challenges in 2020 we successfully released 3,375 wild animals back into the wild where they belong, after they received the care and rehabilitation they needed.

"Last year we cared for over 7,000 animals but on an average year we can care for over 10,000 wild animals.

"We are in now in our busy summer season and are currently caring for over 800 wild animals. Just a couple of months ago, we had around 300 so that gives you an idea of the influx we get at this time of year.

"Animals come to the centre for a variety of reasons such as being involved in road traffic accidents, caught up in fishing wire or litter or young animals have become separated from their mothers and are unable to care for themselves.

"We often have animals who come to us at just a few weeks old and need to be hand-reared and given round-the-clock care by our specialist staff.

"The last year has been very demanding for the society and our centre, but thanks to our dedicated team we are proud to say that we could be there for Scotland's wild animals when they needed us."

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the charity operated largely as normal. 136,000 calls were taken leading to 77,960 jobs for inspectors and animal rescue officers.

Furthermore, 34 people were convicted of animal welfare offences after they were reported by inspectors.

Kirsteen Campbell, Scottish SPCA chief executive, added: "We are unique among animal welfare charities in the UK in that we the power to investigate cruelty and seize animals, but also a responsibility to work with pet owners experiencing hardship.

"I must pay tribute to my selfless colleagues working directly with animals. They always go above and beyond for animals, but since March 2020 that has been more apparent than ever.

"Thousands of animals have been given a second chance thanks to their dedication."

"I am optimistic that the Scottish SPCA and wider animal welfare sector is in a fantastic position to build on."

Anyone who is concerned about an animal can contact the SSPCA's confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

Visit to make a donation to support the work of the SSPCA.