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Nature / Seals to be flown to Shetland after water issue at SSPCA centre

The four seals will be the first of the season for Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary

An archive image of a seal pup.

FOUR seals will be flown to Shetland this week to be looked after by the Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary after a technical problem with an SSPCA centre on the mainland.

The seals, one female and three males, will be the first common seal pups to arrive at Hillswick this season.

Never before in its 35 year history has the sanctuary had no common seal pups brought in from around Shetland’s coastline.

The seals will take to the skies on two light aircraft today (Tuesday), heading to Sumburgh Airport for onward transport to Hillswick.

This is because of a problem with the water treatment system at the SSPCA’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Clackmannanshire.

The centre currently has nine common seal pups in its care but needs somewhere for them to be looked after until they fix the water supply to their outdoor seal pools.

Hillswick sanctuary founder Jan Bevington said: “We are only too happy to help Fishcross by taking over the care of these seal pups.

“We are great believers in working collaboratively for the welfare of our wildlife and are looking forward to meeting our first pups of the summer.”

Manager of the SSPCA’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre Chris Hogsden said: “We’re so grateful to our friends at Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary for taking these seals in to their care.

“Unfortunately we are having some issues with the water supply at our National Wildlife Rescue Centre, meaning we are unable to care for these animals at the moment.

“Our team will be sad to say goodbye to them but we know they’ll be in the best possible hands with the team at Hillswick.”

Meanwhile the quiet season – described as “highly unusual” – has been replicated in Orkney, where Orkney Seal Rescue has had no seal pups for the first time either.

The SSPCA has also had a much-reduced intake of common seal pups this year.

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