A game-changing partnership with UHI will make it easier for an Ellon wildlife rescue centre to take care of lost and injured animals.
It’s all thanks to a custom database created by Moray College UHI lecturer Dr Malcolm Clark and recent Perth graduate Ewan Forsyth.
Their creation will help The New Arc, an Ellon-based wildlife rescue centre, track and treat the animals in their care.
Leaders at the charity called the partnership a “game changer.” And UHI’s programming duo are already getting requests from as far off as Liberia for similar programmes.
Programming with a purpose
Dr Clark and Mr Forsyth worked with The New Arc for three months to develop the database. With it, staff members at the rescue centre can now keep a digital log of their animals.
New Arc founder keith Marley said he’s already seeing the benefits of having the database. It helps them streamline their hospital admissions and manage employees and volunteers.
“During the Covid period we have had a real wildlife emergency, so this system helps us with our workload and gives the wildlife a better chance of survival.
“It’s a real game changer and we aim to get funding to roll this out with other partners to form a larger picture of the wildlife emergency.”
Digital skills, real-world applications
The database – dubbed Anne’s Wildlife and Rehabilitation Database – was named in honour of Dr Clark’s late mother. Dr Clark said that it’s important to give recent graduates like Mr Forsyth an opportunity to apply their skills in the real world.
“Our computing and interactive media network aims to work with business and the third sector on projects that can help them operate efficiently by bringing their innovative ideas to reality.”
Mr Forsyth recently graduated from Perth College UHI, where he earned a first-class degree in computing. He said that projects like this one are important for turning classroom knowledge into job experience.
Helping out some cuddly creatures is just another perk.
“This is the second project I have worked on with Dr Clark and the experience was another great opportunity to work on a project for a really worthwhile cause. I have learnt much from the experience and look forward to my future career in the software industry or academia.”
Off the back of the success in Ellon, Dr Clark is already getting requests to help other rescue centres. Charities in Liberia, Hampshire and southern France have reached out to ask about adopting the database.
If you see an animal that is injured, you can call New Arc for advice at (0796) 225 3867. Their website also has helpful tips for how to handle different animals in different situations of distress.