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Seals flown to Shetland for care after rescue centre water breakdown

The seals have been transferred to a wildlife sanctuary on Shetland (Scottish SPCA/PA)
The seals have been transferred to a wildlife sanctuary on Shetland (Scottish SPCA/PA)

Four seals have been flown to Shetland to be cared for after a wildlife rescue centre’s water treatment plant broke down, leaving it unable to care for them.

The Scottish SPCA has launched an urgent appeal for donations to raise funds to replace the plant at its National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fishcross, Clackmannanshire.

The charity said that equipment that pumps clean water to pools at the centre has broken down meaning it can no longer provide the very best level of care and support that the seals, waterfowl and seabirds it looks after need to survive.

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 travelled with the seals on the plane journey.

Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary founder Jan Bevington said: “When the Scottish SPCA called asking could we help with the care of their common seal pups, there was no hesitation on our part.

“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 Scottish SPCA said it will cost more than £600,000 to replace the water filtration system and urged people to donate via its website here

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.”