The Scottish SPCA are asking members of the public to be “part of the rescue” as part of a new trial which could see thousands more animals saved.
The animal rescue charity have launched a new system for their rescues where they will ask members of the public to contain certain small birds and mammals before an officer will attend.
It comes after the organisation revealed that in 2022 officers were called to over 5,000 incidents where the animal was never located – which equates to 10% of calls.
The animals that the charity are asking members of the public to contain if injured or sick include amphibians, bats, small rodents and hedgehogs.
They are also asking for the public to contain any birds that are not swans, geese, heron, gannets and birds of prey.
Scottish SPCA chief superintendent, Mike Flynn, said, “The public really are our eyes and ears and they do a great job of alerting us to animals in need. However, when small birds or mammals are not contained they can often leave the area before our animal rescue officer can assist them.
“This means our officer needs to spend time searching for the animal, cutting back on the number of other jobs they can attend. There’s also a very clear animal welfare issue of the animal continuing to suffer if they do need help and are never found. Animals who are injured or sick are much more vulnerable to predators so containing the animal also protects them.
“We’re now trialling a new system for our rescues where we will ask members of the public to contain some birds and small mammals before we will send out an animal rescue officer. This can be doing something as simple as putting them in a container or placing a box over the top of them.
“We don’t want anyone to put themselves in a potentially dangerous situation so we will only be asking people to do this for birds other than swans, geese, heron, gannets and birds of prey. In terms of other animals, we would only ask members of the public to do this for amphibians, bats, small rodents and hedgehogs.
“Of course, if someone has a disability or a phobia that means they are unable to contain the animal, we will take this into account. We also wouldn’t expect someone to try to contain an animal that is already trapped or inaccessible.
“We know that everyone who calls our helpline is already doing their part to ensure we can successfully rescue animals in need. By taking this one extra step, members of the public will be making sure we can use the charity’s limited resources in the most effective way possible.
“If anyone has concerns about an animal they can call our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.”