An orphaned red squirrel has become the 1000th animal to be rescued, rehabilitated and released back into the wild by the Scottish SPCA this year.
Scotland's animal welfare charity rescued Squirrelly when he was only a week old after being picked up by a dog in woodland in Inverness.
He was very weak and struggled to feed when he first arrived at the Scottish SPCA's National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fishcross, Alloa, in May, but two months on and the young squirrel has now been released back into the wild fully fit and healthy.
Colin Seddon, centre manager, said: "Squirrelly had to be syringe-fed every two to three hours when he first came into our care, but he soon grew stronger and began taking solid food quite happily. We gradually withdrew handling to help Squirrelly become independent of humans and at ten weeks old he was showing all the signs of being ready to be released.
"We chose a soft release site where we know there is an abundance of food to help Squirrelly make a smooth transition into the wild."
Although the Scottish SPCA is delighted to have reached this milestone, the charity is bracing itself for an even busier autumn and winter.
Colin added: "We're delighted we've managed to successfully rescue, rehabilitate and release 1,000 animals back into the wild so far this year. However, we still have a huge amount of work to do before the year is out and we fully expect to take in and release another 1,000 or more animals by the end of December. Our new facility in Clackmannanshire is already helping us to increase our capacity to care for and treat sick and injured wild animals and we've no doubt we'll be kept very busy over the autumn and winter period, particularly when the grey seal pupping season begins."
Anyone who discovers an injured or distressed animal should call the Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.