University computing team develops database for local animal charity

Computing experts from the University of the Highlands and Islands have helped to develop a new database for an Aberdeenshire animal charity.

Dr Malcolm Clark, a researcher, lecturer and leader for the undergraduate computing and interactive media programmes from Moray College UHI, and Ewan Forsyth a computing graduate from Perth College UHI, gave up their time to help the New Arc wildlife and animal rescue centre in Ellon.

The system is named after Malcolm’s late mum, Anne’s Wildlife and Rehabilitation Database, and has been so successful that other animal charities are now interested in using the technology too.

During the three-month project, Malcolm and Ewan worked with centre staff to develop a digital system to help log the animals which are housed in the hospital, providing information on their health and details of the treatments they receive.

Dr Clark felt the project would be a good way to help a local charity and provide a new graduate with an opportunity to work on a real-life project. He explains: “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.”

Ewan, who recently graduated with a first class BSc (Hons) in computing, believes the project gave him an opportunity to further develop his software development skills and enhance his CV. He said: “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.”

Speaking about the database, New Arc founder, Keith Marley, said: “This new database complements our new state of the art hospital by speeding up the admissions and treatments process which augments our daily operations. It also allows us to manage our employees and volunteers with a function to locate the details for our volunteers around Aberdeenshire, Moray and the Highlands and Islands for wildlife pick-ups. 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.”

Dr Clark has now received interest from several other animal charities which are also interested in adopting the database system based in Liberia, Hampshire and the South of France. He is keen to hear from other organisations which may like to find out more about the technology. He can be contacted on 07534 189 890.

To find out more about computing and interactive media courses at the University of the Highlands and Islands, visit