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Generous donation for wildlife sanctuary

The new quad.

SHETLAND-based wildlife volunteers have received a £5,000 donation from a global animal welfare organisation to buy a much-needed quad with trailer to transport seals, otters and other marine mammals in trouble.

Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary has been looking after sick, injured and abandoned seals and otters for almost 30 years.

Now World Animal Protection (WAP) has enabled the sanctuary to buy the quad to help easing access to remote locations in their mission to rescue and release injured animals and those caught in marine litter.

The charity’s UK campaign manager Christina Dixon said: “We were motivated to support the sanctuary after seeing the devastating injuries caused by entanglement and ingestion of marine litter, and in particular lost fishing gear, through our Sea Change campaign.

“Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary do an amazing amount of wildlife rescue work with seals, otters and other marine animals and they needed some equipment to continue to do a great job protecting animals in Shetland.”

Maxie being released.

Pete and Jan Bevington, the sanctuary’s owners, work closely with the local community, fishermen and vets to co-ordinate rescues when cetaceans or any marine life get into difficulty on the islands.

Jan said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to WAP UK for all their continued support for the work we do.

“We have long needed to invest in a quad and a trailer to access those remote parts of the isles to rescue and release seals and otters and help stranded or entangled cetaceans.

“The quad and trailer came into their own just recently when we released Maxie, the first of four otter cubs we’ve been rehabilitating this year and will remain an invaluable part of our rescue kit.”

Marina mammals are particularly at risk from entanglement and ingestion of marine litter.

Fishing litter, often called ‘ghost gear’, has been ranked as one of the greatest threats to animals alongside plastic bags, balloons and bottle caps and can cause severe injuries and sometimes death.

World Animal Protection is active in 50 countries raising awareness of the problem of ghost gear globally and working with the fishing industry, governments and non-profits to find sustainable solutions.