Seals flown to island after rescue centre pumps need £600k repair

Four seals were flown to Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary in Shetland on Tuesday.

Seals flown to Shetland for care after Scottish SPCA rescue centre breakdown Scottish SPCA

Four seals have been flown to Shetland to be cared for after a Scottish SPCA rescue centre’s water treatment plant broke down.

The charity issued an urgent plea for the public’s help in raising funds to replace the plant at its National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fishcross, Clackmannanshire.

The breakdown of the pumps, which clean water to pools, means the centre can no longer provide the best level of care that the seals, waterfowl and seabirds require.

Four seals were flown to Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary in Shetland on Tuesday, with the help of AKKI Aviation and Inverness Airport.

A team of wildlife rehab experts were also able to travel with the seals on the plane journey.

It has worked with the sanctuary many times in the past, most recently when they helped with the release of a rare Arctic seal named Hispi, in 2021.

Jan Bevington, the sanctuary’s founder, said: “The Scottish SPCA has helped us invaluably over the years and we are only too happy to return the favour. We love nothing better than collaborating with other animal welfare organisations. In these times, wildlife needs us all to work together on their behalf.

“It just so happens that, for the first time in the sanctuary’s 35-year history, we have had no common seal pups brought in from around Shetland’s coast this year, which has been a source of concern to us, but it means we have plenty of room for our new visitors.”

The charity said it will cost more than £600,000 to replace the filtration system and urged people to donate via its website.

Chris Hogsden, manager of the Scottish SPCA’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre, said: “Another five seals remain in our care while an alternative site for treatment is sought.

“In addition to the seals, we also have hundreds of seabirds and waterfowl on site who came in to our care before the current bird flu restrictions and are waiting to be released.

“We cannot stress enough how vital this water treatment plant is for us to be able to continue our work rescuing and rehabilitating Scotland’s wildlife.

“We know times are tough for everyone and we do need to raise a large sum of money, but even the smallest donation will help towards our target.

“We’d be so grateful for anything members of the public can spare, and we know Scotland’s wildlife will be too.”

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